Do you remember Tadpole? He was the son of Tigerstar and Sasha and was presumed dead after sinking underwater. What we don’t know is if he really died, or if he somehow survived and forged a life of his own. Don’t forget that Sasha and her kits left directly after Tadpole sank and didn’t wait to see if he resurfaced. There was a possibility that he got out alive and did not show up again in the main series. (There was a sentence in Mothwing’s secret that says that Sasha pulled Tadpole’s body out of the twoleg den, but Sasha could’ve simply told her kits that she had found his body to hide the truth that his body was missing and had possibly been taken by a fox or other predator, causing Mothwing to dream about being there, therefore causing her to believe that she really was.)
So Tadpole, a cat that grew up around evil, has to make a choice:
Will he follow in his father's footsteps? Or will he go ahead and fall in love with that pretty RiverClan deputy?
When he makes his choice, he finds himself embarking on a journey of a lifetime and finds out what it means to truly live.
“Mother! Mother!” called a tiny black kit with amber eyes. He paddled the water, his eyes fixed on the outstretched paw of a tawny-colored she-cat with blue eyes, his mother, Sasha.
“Tadpole!” cried a small she-kit with amber eyes. A small tom buried his icy blue eyes in his mother’s tawny fur.
Tadpole’s muscles ached and water filled his nose and mouth.
I’m sorry Mother. I’m sorry Hawk and Moth. I don’t want to die…
Tadpole shook with terror as cold water stunned him and his head slipped under the surface and everything went blurry.
All he could see was the water’s bubbles and the shadows of Sasha, Moth, Hawk, and Shnuky slowly stepping back, abandoning him forever in the depths of the flooded den.
Tadpole opened his tiny mouth in a silent scream, as his little lungs seemed to burst.
Everything went dark…
Tadpole was dead, or at least he thought he was…
It must've been luck, but seconds later the kit's small amber eyes opened and he could have sworn that he saw a tom standing at the surface.
Is he going to save me? Tadpole wondered.
His breath was gone and Tadpole wished that he were dead. Pain filled his tiny body, but he forced himself to take in his surroundings.
Tadpole, with one final heave, pushed himself up the den wall. His little claws scrambled and all his strength drained. But the son of Tigerstar had his father's power and ambition and soon broke the surface. Precious air filled his lungs, but a darkness closed around him. The last thing he saw was the shadowy tom, glaring at him...
He awoke hours later to something pushing on his chest. Water poured out of Tadpole's mouth. Hacking, he looked up at a tabby tom. His face was scarred and his ear shredded. "That was- that was something else kit." the tom replied, amused at Tadpole's survival. To Tadpole's horror, the tom's eyes were dark and lifeless and he could see through his pelt.
“Where’s Sasha?” Tadpole asked. “You call your own mother by her name?!” the tom challenged.
“M-mother, I mean.” Tadpole stuttered.
“Your kin are gone.”
“What did I just say?!”
“No. That’s not- I mean are you- no you can’t be?!” Tadpole struggled to keep himself calm as his eyes scanned the tabby fur that his brother had.
“I am your father if that's what you're asking. Or I shall say that I was when I was alive…”
Facing his father with a hiss, Tigerpaw leapt, claws unsheathed and he rolled the dead warrior on his back. Tigerstar lunged upwards and slashed his son’s black pelt, sending him sprawling. Tigerpaw lunged forwards and surprised Tigerstar with a blow to the head. He drew blood.
“Very good… Very good… Enough.” Tigerstar growled. Tigerpaw sat back on his haunches, fur still pricked and tense in case his father was pulling off another one of his tricks.
“Thanks father.” Tigerpaw replied, licking blood off his claws. It had seemed like lifetimes ago when he was called Tadpole and lived with his mother, brother and sister.
To the young tom, his father wasn’t his kin, he was his master.
“I think it’s time that we give you your senior name.”
“Whoa! Really!” Tadpole exclaimed.
A senior name, Tigerstar had explained, was like a warrior name for rouges like Tigerpaw and Tigerstar.
Tigerpaw’s current name was considered a learner’s name.
Tigerstar had told Tigerpaw that if he had lived with him for long enough, he would’ve been called Tiger, not wanting to call him Tigerkit.
But Tigerpaw had already had a kit name: Tadpole.
“I call the rebels from the Dark Forest to look down upon my son as he grows into one of our true warriors. I now will give you your senior name after your dark pelt. Tigershadow, will you fight to be the greatest Dark Forest cat you can be?”
“Yes father.” Tigershadow purred.
“Yes master…” Tigerstar corrected
“Yes Master.” Tigershadow replied.
“Tomorrow, you will go to the Dark Forest for the first time to meet your new trainers…”
The dark forest was just like the real forest, but a lot darker and no stars lay in the sky.
Tigerstar had brought his young son to the forest that morning…
“My name is T-Tigershadow.” the tom stammered as he stared at a muscular gray and white tabby.
“You will let me speak first!” the tom spat.
“I said you will-”
“Thistleclaw!” called Tigerstar briskly.
“Ahh, if it isn’t my little apprentice.” Thistleclaw sneered.
“I can kill you in a battle if I tried, Thistlehead!” Tigerstar hissed, unsheathing his unusually sharp claws.
“Master! You aren’t going to fight are you?!” Tigershadow yelped.
“No son, we just threaten each other because we’re good friends…” Tigerstar meowed.
Thistleclaw turned to Tigershadow. “You’re Tigerclaw’s son? I should’ve shown more respect.”
Tigershadow shook his head. “No offense taken. But father’s name is Tiger-”
“It’s okay, Tigershadow. It was my warrior name. Thistleclaw was my mentor.”
“But I thought you’re not a warrior.” Tigershadow asked.
“No. I’m not” Tigerstar sighed. “C’mon.”
Tigershadow followed his father over the dry grass and stared wearily at the strange cats that watched them.
A large tom with scars and a broken tail walked over.
“Brokenstar. Our leader.” Tigerstar whispered to his son.
“A trainee?” Brokenstar asked.
“My son.” Tigerstar replied.
“My name is Tigershadow.” Tigershadow mewed.
Brokenstar dipped his head. “Let’s see how well you fight. Darkheart!”
A large tom with shredded ears and dark fur crept up, evilly.
“Tigershadow. Darkheart. Kill each other.”
“What?!” cried the young black tom.
“You heard him. You have to earn a place here. Kill Darkheart.” Tigerstar said indifferently.
“This’ll be fun.” Darkheart sneered.
This is impossible! I’ll die! I want to go home!
But despite his fear, the formerly named Tadpole hissed and got into a hunting crouch.
Tigerstar narrowed his eyes and got ready to watch his son fight to the death.
I thought he loved me!
Darkheart lunged and slashed Tigershadow’s face, causing him to fall to the ground. The old tom laughed,
“Ready to die kit?!”
“I’m no kit!” screeched Tigershadow.
Lashing out at his rival, Tadpole fought as hard as he could, but was eventually thrown across the dusty ground.
He rolled a couple inches and moved no more.
“I killed the wimpy kit! I killed the wimpy kit!” Darkheart laughed.
Tigerstar dipped his head.
“My leader, at least let him come back in spirit.” he pleaded.
Brokenstar sighed. “He didn’t earn his place.”
Tigerstar tried to hide his horrified expression. He had truly loved his son.
Then Tigershadow was awake! He lunged at Darkheart with all of his might and snapped his jaws around the pathetic tom’s neck.
Darkheart gave a gurgle and fell to the ground, dead. He faded into nothing.
“My son! You’re alive!” Tigerstar replied, happily.
He nuzzled his brave son.
“Welcome to the Dark Forest!” Brokenstar proclaimed.
“Well done Tigershadow!” Thistleclaw growled.
I’ve done it!
Tigershadow stood at the entrance to his den: a hollowed out log with long claw marks along the side.
I did it! I made my father proud! Now I can be the best fighter in the forest!
Just the night before, he had joined the dark forest in his dreams and killed the ghost of Darkheart, a senior warrior, apparently from WindClan.
If only Hawk and Moth could see him now! Sadness suddenly filled the dark tom. He remembered the days of running with his mother and siblings, the innocent days that would never return. He raised his head and stared at the stars.
None of that matters anymore. Tigerstar has made sure of that.
“Tigershadow!” the old ghost called. Tigershadow looked up, his small black head clawed and scarred from training with his father. “I think you are ready for the true story of the Dark Forest.” he said darkly. Tigershadow nodded. He didn’t know there was a true or false story of the Place of No Stars.
“Let’s begin with my story.” Tigerstar growled. Tadpole, as he still remembered his true name was, nodded. He had heard Tigerstar’s gloating and bragging many times.
“I was born to the clan leader, Pinestar. I thought it was something special until the coward ran off to be a soft pathetic kittypet. I was scorned and laughed at and my siblings were not spared from that. Mistkit and Nightkit were always stronger than me, and I was weak. Then one day Mistkit fell ill and died that night. Nightkit followed. Mother spoiled me like a useless scrap until I grew into an apprentice. I was apprenticed to the only warrior I admired, Thistleclaw, who you met last night. I was the strongest warrior in the clan! Everyone thought that they were strong. But they were wrong. I was strong. Then my beloved mentor died in battle and I was lost without him. Then I was given an apprentice of my own, Darkpaw-”
“What?! I thought Darkheart was from WindClan and you were from ShadowClan!” Tigershadow gasped.
“First of all, I never even met Darkheart before my death, and second of all, this all took place in ThunderClan. Learn it. Learn it well, kit!” Tigerstar snapped.
“Darkpaw was a great fighter. Powerful, brave, ambitious. He became Darkstripe and my greatest ally. Then I was given Redpaw. Pretty good, but he embarrassed me and he owed me his life. Then he became Redtail and deputy. I couldn’t hide my rage. That was my destiny! Then I was given Ravenpaw. That little coward! He ran away to become a kittypet or whatever and became close with another tom! But while he was still in the clan, I took him to battle with those pathetic RiverClan cats! He caused a rockslide and killed their deputy. As proud as I was, I was also enraged. I called him to the side and killed him! I shredded him and told the clan that Oakheart did it! I was brave, victorious and I took credit for killing Oakheart. Everyone believed me! I was the winner- until the kittypet came! The kittypet needed to die! I knew that. Fireheart, they called him. When I became deputy, I tried to kill Bluestar, but that little foxheart thwarted me! I ran with rogues and sided with Brokenstar, the exiled leader. After ShadowClan was weakened during Nightstar's leadership, I became leader after Runningnose received an omen. I later met a former kittypet, Sasha, and although we grew close, she chose not to join ShadowClan, and unbeknownst to me, she had my kits, Moth, Hawk, and Tadpole. I later founded TigerClan with Leopardstar; however, I took complete control when I ordered Blackfoot and Darkstripe to kill Stonefur, RiverClan's half-Clan deputy. Though I recruited Scourge to help me defeat the Clans, I was killed by the BloodClan leader, losing all of my nine lives. I joined the dark forest with my allies and plotted to take revenge. Firestar still needs to die. That’s why we’re going to kill him.”
“What?!” Tigershadow screeched, his fur spiking along his spine.
“You heard me son! We will destroy the clans!” Tigerstar yowled.
“I don’t want to destroy anything!” Tigershadow whimpered.
“You will! If you don’t, you are no longer my son!” Tigerstar hissed. His amber eyes glowed with fury. Then he turned away. “That is the truth behind the Dark Forest…”
Tigershadow stood there in shock, unsure of what his next move should be.
Many moons had passed since Tadpole learned what he had been training for. He didn’t originally like the idea of being evil, but he had to go with it. He had no choice. He had been visiting the Dark Forest every night. He had learned much and was now capable of fighting off ten cats at a time. He was known and respected by all. Then his new way of life had grown on him.
“Tigershadow! Come!” called Brokenstar.
Tigershadow strutted up, his glossy pelt neat and he displayed his scars proudly. His narrow forehead had become large and wide and his small shoulders had bulged out with muscle. His claws had grown unusually sharp. He resembled his father greatly. His kind personality had also hardened.
“You must know by now why you are training here. We are going to take in trainees and vengeful ghosts. We will make sure not one clan leader still stands.” Brokenstar said.
“And what is your point?!” Tigershadow hissed, impatiently.
“I will give you a job. If you see any worthy cats, you will report them to me and they will join our rebellion.” Brokenstar replied.
“Honored. Anything else, oh great leader…”
“No sarcasm, kit!” Brokenstar yowled.
A look of danger filled Tigershadow’s amber eyes.
“Never call me a kit EVER.”
Turning away, Tigershadow glared into the light that had no source.
Imagine how weak and useless I’d be if I’d stayed with Sasha?! I feel bad for poor little Tadpole.
Darkstripe lay on a cliffside, eying his friend’s son through narrowed eyes.
“What are you staring at furbrain!” Tigershadow hissed.
The older tom looked away fast.
Later, the dark tom sat in the normal forest, watching the sunset. He was aware of his father’s voice in his head.
Well done, my son. I am proud, however you must keep working to keep my praise. You don’t want to see me when I am disappointed.
Tigershadow was sure that he had no problem when it came to that.
He wasn’t paying attention as he wandered. He didn’t smell the scent markers or hear the warning hiss until it was too late. A large tom slashed him across the back of the head with a yowl.
With rage, Tigershadow let out a hiss and sent the tom sprawling. Laughing, Tigershadow puffed out his chest. Then he noticed the familiar tabby coat.
“F-father?” Tigershadow whispered.
No. It wasn’t Tigerstar, his ear wasn’t clawed.
Getting to his paws, the tom stood up and glared at Tigeshadow with strangely familiar blue eyes.
“Brother?” the tom whispered, sudden disbelief showing on his face.
Tigershadow cocked his head. All these years he had been told that he had no kin. They had abandoned him for dead, only Tigerstar was kin. Right?
“Tadpole?” the tom whispered again. “It’s me, Hawk! They call me Hawkfrost now!”
“Yeah, yeah. Hawk, I remember you alright, but just to clear this up-”
“I thought you were dead! We all did!” Hawkfrost interrupted excitedly.
“Guess what, I’m not. My name is Tigershadow and I have gotten used to the fact that you and Moth and Sasha left me for dead. I have no kin by the way. I have no brother.”
Ignoring the shock on his younger brother’s face, Tigershadow stormed off, not a bit of regret on his mind. That was his old life. It was over now.
“So you think Hawkfrost would be a good trainee?” Tigerstar questioned his son thoughtfully.
“Yes, Father. He fights well.” Tigershadow replied.
“You have another brother, his name Brambleclaw. Do you recommend that I train him too.” the old tom asked obviously interested in what his son had to suggest.
“I’d need to see him first.” Tigershadow replied dismissively.
“If you’d seen him, you’d think he’s a young me.” Tigerstar insisted.
“I can see you’ve made up your mind already. Why do you need the opinion of your mere son.” Tigershadow snapped.
“He has a point.” Darkstripe shrugged.
“True.” Brokenstar replied.
“I see you are enjoying picking on your savior!” Tigerstar spat.
A laugh rumbled in Tigershadow’s throat. He enjoyed when he was seen as the wonder he was!
Later, Tigershadow sat on his log den, overlooking the living forest. He could see the clan cats on their border patrols. Then the thought crept on him:
Maybe I can kill one!
He flexed his muscles and sat in wait for one of their warriors to go off on their own.
It won’t be long now…
Then he saw her! A blue-gray she-cat with blue eyes had broken off from the group to stalk a mouse.
I’ll kill HER!
He lunged for the border, his red eyes gleaming with joy and his tail streaking behind him. Then he reached her, and got ready to kill her. But he stopped. She had an amused look in her eyes.
“Really rogue? You think you could possibly make me laugh any more?” she laughed.
“Ehr… You’re supposed to be afraid.” Tigershadow replied awkwardly,
What?! What kind of answer was that?! You’re the son of Tigerstar not some flirty-
“Are you aware that I picked up your scent on this border a few days ago? You’re trespassing and we don’t take trespassers here in RiverClan.” she said, her gaze hardening.
“Oh. My bad.” Tigershadow mewed silently.
Are you kidding me now?! KILL HER!
But Tigershadow didn’t want to kill the pretty she-cat.
He took a few steps back over the border.
“I’m Tiger- I mean Tadpole.”
Why are you doing this Tigershadow?! KILL HER! DO IT NOW!
“I like that name.” the she-cat purred “I’m Mistyfoot.”
“That’s a beautiful name, Mistyfoot.”
Now you’ve done it, fool.
Then it started. Every night, Mistyfoot and Tadpole met on the border and slowly the two grew closer.
One night Tigershadow accidently slipped the thought he had on his mind since the first time he laid eyes on her:
“I love you Mistyfoot.”
Her blue eyes filled with relief.
“I know. I do too.”
Perhaps Tigerstar would never find out that I love a clan cat Tigershadow thought hopefully as the two cats purred and nuzzled each other.
One night at the Dark Forest, Tigerstar confronted his son wildly.
“I saw you with a she-cat this morning. A clan cat! What’s your explanation?!”
“I love her, father.” Tigershadow admitted.
“I’m disappointed in you.”
Then a father’s claws met a son’s face and the son fell to the ground, bleeding.
“Take that! Stop seeing her, mousebrain!”
“No! I won’t.”
Tigerstar’s eyes filled with disbelief.
“You are no longer my son…”
The old tom turned away, leaving his son speechless.
My name is Tadpole now, not Tigershadow the young tom decided.
Tadpole did not return to the Dark Forest again. He didn’t want to. He didn’t need to.
He didn't stop visiting his mate either.
“Good morning Mistyfoot!” he mewed to his love one night.
“Hello Tadpole!” she purred, nuzzling him.
Meowing, the two cats hurried towards Tadpole’s den.
“I am so glad we met each other!” Mistyfoot exclaimed.
Tadpole gulped, remembering what he had been trying to do.
I tried to KILL her! he realized.
Then he looked into her icy blue eyes and warmth spread over him.
But I didn't.
“What if we got caught?” Tadpole asked playfully.
“Then we’d run away together, my love.” Mistyfoot purred.
After a long night of playing and talking like usual, the two walked back to the RiverClan border.
“Hey you! Halt!”
Tadpole stared into the eyes of a large black tom.
“Blackclaw!” Mistyfoot gasped.
“Who’s this? A rogue?”
“I’m Tadpole!” Tadpole snarled, claws unsheathed.
“Stop!” Mistyfoot yowled as the two cats prepared to fight.“He’s my mate.” she admitted.
Stiffening, Blackclaw sheathed his claws.
“What? I thought I was going to be your mate!” Blackclaw mewed, a look of pain in his amber eyes.
“Don’t tell Blackclaw, Please!” Mistyfoot begged.
“I won’t! Ya know why?!”
“Why.” Tadpole replied straightening up.
“Because I still love her even though she doesn’t care about me!” Blackclaw replied, his voice cracking.
Then the dark tom ran off.
Mistyfoot turned to Tadpole.
“I’m sorry Tadpole. Maybe you should go.”
Then she followed the dark tom away, leaving Tadpole confused and hurt once more.
Afraid to return to the border the next night, Tadpole lay alone.
“It’s unfair, isn’t it.” replied a hauntingly familiar voice.
“Father?” Tadpole gasped.
“I’ll give you another chance, son.”
Tadpole gazed at the scarred tom he once loved.
“I can’t, Father, not after how I’ve changed. I’ve softened.”
“I’ll harden you again, my boy.” Tigerstar mewed.
“Thanks father, but I’m not the same anymore.”
“You can be. All you need to do is return home.”
“This is home.”
“If you change your mind, the offer is still open, just not free.”
Tigerstar turned and sipped off.
Just not free. Tadpole didn’t like the sound of that.
Tadpole was depressed.
He had lost his mate, or so he thought.
He had lost the offer, or so he thought.
He had lost his joy, or so he thought.
He had also gotten used to a new sound.
Crunch, rumble, crash!
Tadpole always shrugged it off, it was on the other side of the forest anyway.
One day he missed Mistyfoot so much that he decided to go back to RiverClan.
He would ask her to run away with him.
He hoped that she would say yes and leave all of her worries behind.
Tadpole’s fur spiked at the thought of her saying no.
It won’t happen. I hope…
He found himself at the border and realized that he had walked there without realizing.
Blackclaw leapt out at him.
“Don’t you dare try to cross, Taddy!” he spat.
“Lay off it Blacky! Where’s my mate?!”
“Do you want me to tell Leopardstar you have been courting her warrior?”
“No.” Tadpole replied surprisingly cool. “Where is Mistyfoot?”
“She’s no longer here. Some mousebrained twolegs took her away!” Blackclaw replied with grief replacing his rage.
“No!” Tadpole gasped.
“Just leave.” Blackclaw meowed “please!”
Tadpole did leave, not to cry or lay down somewhere, depressed, but to save his true love!
Sniffing the air, Tadpole scented a tang and something that smelled like shredded wood. He followed his nose, instinct, and the crunching sound that grew louder every step of the way.
“Rouge!” called a voice.
“Eh?!” Tadpole replied, annoyed to be distracted from his trail.
“Careful! You’re only a tail length from the-”
“RiverClan border! I know! Who are you to get yourself associated with the son of Tigerstar, eh?” Tadpole spat, a little harsher than expected.
“Son of Tigerstar! Oh Stars above!”
“I’m not going to to destroy your clan or anything, just figured I’d put it out-”
“I’m the daughter of Tigerstar! My name is-”
“Moth!” Tadpole gasped, recognizing his sister.
“I’m seeing ghosts! Hawkfrost come here!” Moth yowled.
“More of that talk Mothwing? It’s probably just your-” Hawkfrost grumbled, slinking up.
“Oh, hello little brother!” Tadpole said, trying to make up for the time that he’d claimed that he had no kin.
“Great. It’s Tigershadow. What do you want now?”
“Hawkfrost! Moth! I’m so sorry-” Tadpole began.
“For what?! Turning against your own brother after moons of thinking you were dead?!” Hawkfrost snarled.
“Tadpole… Oh Tadpole…” Moth whispered.
“Good to see you Moth.”
“Mothwing.” she corrected.
“Mothwing.” he confirmed.
“Tigershadow.” Hawkfrost corrected Mothwing.
“No, just Tadpole now.”
“Come! Stay in RiverClan!” Hawkwing whispered, forgiveness in his eyes.
“I can’t! I have to be somewhere!” Tadpole replied suddenly and raced towards the sounds and smells.
Then he saw something that filled him with horror: A twoleg monster filled with cages upon cages of frightened cats.
“Mistyfoot!” he mewled, recognizing the blue-gray she-cat before him.
“Tadpole!” she cried.
“Tadpole?!” cried a surprised voice.
“Mother!” Tadpole yowled charging at the cage that held a pretty she-cat with blue eyes.
“My boy… my beautiful, brave kit…”
“Behind you, Rouge!” cried a ginger she-cat with amber eyes.
“Why, what a handsome tomcat.” said a voice that didn’t speak Tadpole’s language and he felt something scoop him up and with a jolt was thrown into one of the cages, catching sight of the twoleg as it turned and walked away after latching the gate tightly.
What do I do now?!
Clawing at the bars, Tadpole let out a high pitched wail, miserable from 5 days of eating dry pellets and being enclosed when he could be hunting, running wild.
“Someone! Help! Help! Help!” he cried out.
“Tadpole, please! I’m trying to sleep here!” Pine, Sasha’s old friend moaned. Tadpole noticed that the two seemed closer than friends.
“Easy dear. He’s restless like the rest of us.” Sasha soothed.
“Do you see me wailing my head off? Huh?!” Pine spat, his meow breaking.
“Sorry Uncle Pine…” Tadpole grumbled, remembering what he used to call the scarred tom in his kithood.
“I’m not your uncle, kid.” Pine moaned.
“Where’s your youth?!” Tadpole spat, leaping to his paws with fury.
“I lost it long before I got into this-” Pine spat a curse that only cats know “-mess! I don’t have a single idea how to-”
“Okay! Okay!” Tadpole hissed, annoyed.
Another few days passed and Tadpole grew sickly.
“...Just another few days and I’ll fall… Just another few… Oh the story is sad but most sad stories are true...” Tadpole sang softly to himself. It was a song Tigerstar had sung to him when he was a kit, before it all went wrong…
“Hey dad! Dad!” a young Tigerpaw squeaked.
“Settle down son! Tomorrow’s a big day.” the tom cooed softly.
“I’m not tired!”
“Well you will be, how about I tell you a story.”
“Not about your ambitions and victories again?” Tigerpaw sighed, his unscarred pelt fluffy and clean.
“No. It’s about the most wonderful cat I ever met. One day I met a former kittypet, her name was Sasha. She caught a toad on the border of ShadowClan, as mad as I looked, her beauty melted my heart. We fell in love and we thought we’d never- Tigerpaw?”
The small kit was sobbing.
“I miss her so much daddy. I miss my brother and sister, but I really miss my mommy. Will I ever see her again?” Tigerpaw squeaked through tears, his big amber eyes looking up at his father expectantly.
“I-I don’t know.” Tierstar whispered. “She abandoned you, my son.”
“I still love her, father.”
Tigerstar threw back his huge head and started to sing:
“The stars above you may not shine, boy, the moon may go out, boy, but I will always be there for you. The world is unfair. The ones around you may not love who you are, but I’ll always love you, boy. Just when you feel alone remember, I am there for you. I once met a young one with no love. A young one with no love. A young one with no love! He one said to me: ‘Just another few days and I’ll fall… Just another few… Oh the story is sad but most sad stories are true.’ He was upset for life , and he met an end like fire in the rain. But I’ll be there and you’ll know love and I love you just the way you are!”
The tom looked down at the sleeping son curled on his paws.
He lied. He didn’t care. He didn’t love me just the way I was. Tadpole realized.
Tadpole sobbed once more, not for his mother this time, but for himself.
It’s over. I ran into a wall and achieved nothing.
Tadpole had stopped eating and drinking.
I’d rather die than stay here.
Mistyfoot had begged him to keep himself alive, but he just couldn’t.
It is over.
He lay on the hard metal floor and sighed sadly.
Everything seemed to darken around him.
He gave in.
“Hello, Tigershadow.” Tigerstar said, grooming his fur.
“F-father?” Tadpole stammered.
“Yes?” Tigerstar answered.
“Why are you here?”
“You are dead.” Tigerstar replied.
“I’m not going to the Dark Forest am I?”
Tigerstar didn’t answer.
“PLEASE TELL ME!” Tadpole begged.
“Tadpole! This way!” called a voice. A large tom with ginger fur nodded towards a light in the distance.
“Coming!” he whispered, turning from his father.
Hopefully it’s worth spending eternity in.
Charging after the tom, Tadpole wished he’d held on.
“Here.” the tom said, nodding towards a bright shining forest.
Then Tadpole heard a sound…
“Hey man. Are you okay?”
“Ugh.” Tadpole groaned, looking up at another cage with another cage on top of it.
In the upper cage, a skinny tom sat.
“You could’ve died.” he said.
“Yeah, I did.” Tadpole answered, confused.
“No ya didn’t buddy.” the tom answered.
Tadpole noticed a thorn-like needle in his shoulder.
“That’s so you don’t dehydrate, friend.”
Looking around, Tadpole panicked.
Where am I? How do I go home?
Clawing the needle, Tadpole realized how it was helping him to stay hydrated: It was connected to a long tube with a strange liquid pouring through it.
“What’s your name, bro?” the tom asked.
“I’m diesel. I live at a truckstop around the corner. I got hit so I’m here at the vet, recovering.” he said.
“I am just a rogue. What’s a vet anyway?”
“I get that but-”
“If we get hurt, they fix us!”
“But I’m not hurt!”
“You were on the brink of death. They brought you here.”
“How do I get home?”
“Get better, they’ll get you an owner.”
“I don’t want an owner! I want my mate!”
“Sorry man, I have no advice.”
Resting his head on his paws, Tadpole sighed.
Then a twoleg thudded over.
Opening the cage, she reached towards Tadpole.
Lashing out, Tadpole yowled and lunged for the twoleg.
Gasping, it jumped out of the way and barked something to a larger one.
“Wait! Wait! I just wanna go home!” Tadpole wailed.
Diesel watched, curious.
He ran for the door.
Twolegs are so weird!
He charged down a hall and screeched as the twolegs caught up.
He leapt through an open window and into the outside world.
“Yes!” he screeched.
He ran for the thunderpath and threw his head back, triumphantly.
Then he was scooped up once more by the twoleg.
He hissed with defeat as he was thrown back into the cage.
“Poor Bro. You actually thought you could escape.”
I’m never getting out of here. All I ever wanted was to see Mistyfoot again…
He sobbed and buried his face in his paws, his flanks slowly rising and falling.
Tadpole was so afraid. His whole body shook as the reality overtook him.
I’ll never see home again.
I’ll never see Tigerstar again.
I’ll never see the clans again.
I’ll never see freedom again.
I-I-I’ll never see Mistyfoot, my mate, my love, my whole life again!
Tadpole threw back his head in a wail.
“Easy Bro.” Diesel mewed.
“I never realized that…” Tadpole cut off and whimpered quietly.
“What didn’t you realize, bro?”
“You wouldn’t understand!” Tadpole replied, his voice breaking.
“Sure I would!” Diesel insisted.
Tadpole shook his head.
“Just trust me. You wouldn’t understand and that’s okay.”
“Oh you’re a poor thing, bro.”
“My name is Tadpole! Stop calling me bro!”
Nodding, Diesel curled in a ball.
“I have met many cats while at my truck stop, but never one as interesting as you, friend.”
Tadpole sighed. “I am weird.” he stated.
“Not as weird as this other cat I met, nicknamed Oz by his twolegs. He claimed he caught and ate bats every night of his life.”
“Really?! That’s crowfood!” Tadpole cried.
“Eh, suits him.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Tadpole replied, amused.
“There was also this one who thought he was a bovine.”
“Yeah. A steer to be exact. ‘Mooooooooooooooooo!’ Was his favorite quote. He would say things like ‘I would, but I’m on a special diet of grass.’ or things like ‘my hoof hurts.’ and to make things worse his pelt was spotted like one! Bull, his name was.”
“Sure, I asked him if he’d like to stay for dinner, but he just started tearing grass from the ground and I decided to leave him be.” Diesel replied, dreamily.
“I guess that he had no beef with that.” Tadpole replied.
For the first time in moons, Tadpole found himself laughing with humor and joy.
“Well bro, I see you’d like to hear more.”
“Yes pleeeeeeaaaaaase!” Tadpole begged, feeling like a kit again.
Settling against the bars of his cage, Tadpole listened for hours.
I’ll find Mistyfoot one day. For now I will be just fine the young, dark tom realized, many pounds of weight lifting off his chest.
Tadpole should’ve known that it wouldn’t stay that way for long…
“Tad! Tad!” Diesel awakened Tadpole one morning.
“Yes, bro?” Tadpole mewed wearily.
“I’m going home.”
“No…” Tadpole’s only friend would soon be taken from him in an instant.
“I’m sorry pal!” Diesel replied as a twoleg reached towards his crate.
Those thousand pounds of weight slammed back on his chest as he saw the twoleg carry his friend out of the door for the last time.
It was all he could do not to cry out in sadness.
Now I’m alone here.
Over the weeks he was at the vet, his muscles had begun to bulge again and his pelt became glossy once more.
The tom stared at the door and sighed.
More days passed and Tadpole was alone.
I need to get out of here!
He realized that once again.
So, one morning, the tom waited for the twoleg to come feed him.
Then he slashed its arm and slipped past once more.
Hearing the commotion behind him, Tadpole raced towards the door.
He noticed the open window and leapt out.
Careful not to be caught again, the young cat jumped into a bush and hid.
He could hear the twolegs searching for him, but he stayed still.
And waited more…
And finally he heard the twolegs no more.
He hadn’t failed like last time.
I did it! I did it!
Then a jolt of memory flashed through him.
Just a few moons ago he had attempted to escape, only to be caught again.
Diesel had laughed at him.
I miss you Diesel.
But the tom was home again, and soon so would Tadpole.
He just needed to save his mate, mother, and stepfather.
Not an easy task!
Slipping out, he looked around.
He had a new problem.
He hadn’t even thought of not knowing where he was!
Days had passed wildly.
Scruffy and skinny again, Tadpole had seen more trouble here in twolegplace than anywhere else.
He had to deal with Monsters, Dogs, Twolegs, and Rouges!
One day he met something that still filled him with horror: BloodClan!
It was the day when he met a scrawny rouge in an alleyway that he truly understood what BloodClan was.
“...and Scourge! My own brother! My own flesh and blood! He took the alleys and killed trespassers! I was lucky to get out of there alive after I begged him for mercy, in which he denied! Poor Rubix… I wonder whatever happened to her when she attempted to find us a new home and never returned. BloodClan tracked us after that day and we almost got killed many times.” he had told Tadpole.
The rogue had called himself Sockstan. He told the young tom that he (Socks at the time) and his sister, Ruby (later Rubix), had been abandoned and forced to thrive on their own.
Mistyfoot had told Tadpole of BloodClan, but now he truly feared them.
Hope I don’t meet those cats!
If you’ve read this tale long enough, you’ll know that Tadpole was not exactly lucky…
“Don’t even try to escape!” Snipe spat.
“Er. Like I could!”
Tadpole was pinned to the ground by a dark colored tom with evil in his eyes.
“I don’t like Smart Alecks.” Snipe spat.
“Well, I guess you and my father have a lot in common, and yet your so-called clan killed him!”
“Tigerstar.” Snipe guessed.
“Kill him.” the tom replied with a shrug.
“I can give you something, if you don’t kill me.” Tadpole panicked.
“Hmm.” Snipe raised his tail to stop the others.
“I’ll join BloodClan.”
“Tigerstar’s kin in BloodClan?” Snipe wondered.
“I can fight ten cats at once!” Tadpole insisted.
“Yes. I know. We have had Tigerstar’s kin in this group before and they’ve never disappointed me, Scourge, or Fury even. C’mon, I’ll show you your rank’s sleeping spot.” Snipe decided.
As Snipe took Tadpole to a far alley, Tadpole questioned the other kin of Tigerstar.
“Ahhh, you’ll see ‘em soon enough. Things have changed around here and now families tend to stay together. Unlike Scourge, Fury, Snake, and Ice, I don't mind if families stay together, but if there is any sign of rebellion, I’ll be sure ta split ‘em up.” Snipe growled.
“Yes, I'm the leader.” Snipe mewed.
Then the tri-colored tom stalked off.
Alone, Tadpole sat, wondering.
“Hello Newbie, here’s your collar, fill it with teeth and bones to earn your honor.” said a sneering, yet friendly, voice.
Tadpole turned to see three toms with coloring exactly like Tigerstar.
“You’re a goner, brother. Snipe doesn’t just take in outsiders.” said the largest tom, called Spear.
“Yup, he’s plotting something.” agreed his brother, Claw.
“Definitely.” the smallest, called Stripe, confirmed.
“Guys! Cut it out and tell me who this rogue is!” called another Tigerstar patterned cat, a she-cat this time.
“What is it, Nile? Can’t you see we’re busy?” Stripe whined.
“Very funny. You all know that I'm the leader of this alley. The only ones over me are Snipe and Mother. And Mother’s gone! Now tell me who this pitiful looking tom is or all three of you are rat-food! ” she hissed.
It was a few minutes after Tadpole had fitted the collar over his neck and the toms had introduced themselves as the sons of Tigerstar and Flame.
Their mother Flame, they told him, had been killed by a twoleg monster.
“Please excuse my sister,” Claw said, “She’s been dominant since mother died.”
“Always was.” Nile replied.
“Well, Nile is the name?” Tadpole mewed.
“Yes. Who are you in shadow’s sake?!” Nile sighed.
“Tadpole, your half brother.” Tadpole replied.
“Ahhh, which side?”
“Flame or Tigy?” Nile hissed, annoyed.
“Tigerstar.” Tadpole replied.
“Tell me he hasn’t tried to train you in that dark forest of his.” she challenged.
“You too?! You're not even a clan cat!” Tadpole mewed.
“What do you mean! I’m of BloodClan!”
“True clan.” Tadpole corrected.
Nile looked hurt as she stalked off.
What a mousebrain! Tadpole stopped himself from saying out loud.
He wondered what his brothers meant by He’s a goner.
But the longer he thought about, the more he realized that it was a trap!
Snipe watched as Tadpole and Stripe sparred on the ground, Nile stood by her leader’s side.
“Well, Tadpole, you have really started to fit in.” Snipe purred.
Nile nuzzled Snipe (her mate) and said “My brother isn’t so bad.”
“Yes.” Snipe replied.
“You are a great leader, Snipe, you are better than Fury ever was.” Nile mewed.
“I still have an evil history on my head, but I’m trying to heal the wounds that Scourge had inflicted.”
“You have.” Nile replied, her eyes on Tadpole, who had called Claw into the fight.
“Tadpole looks like his father in build, his fur must’ve looked like his mother’s.” Snipe mused.
“No, actually, I knew who his mother was, her name was Sasha, remember her?” Nile replied.
“Gosh, you’re right!” Snipe replied.
“Sasha was tawny colored… maybe close kin had his fur?”
“Mmm. I notice Tadpole seems cautious of me. Why?” Snipe asked.
“My brothers were suspicious of why you decided to let him join after trying to kill him.”
“Yes, well… I decided to give him a chance, being Tigerstar’s kin and all!” Snipe insisted.
They watched the sparring toms below and looked forward to a new day...
Tadpole's place among BloodClan had grown and his collar had become studded with bones and teeth.
However, Tigerstar's silence worried the tom.
He still wondered what had become of Mistyfoot.
One day he came across a few rouges and he ran them off.
"Nice one, brother!" Nile mewed.
"Thanks!" Tadpole replied.
"You can't beat me can you?" she challenged.
Both cats wrestled and soon Nile had pinned Tadpole.
"Boom!" she bragged.
Nearby, Snipe watched, most likely proud that he hadn't killed Tadpole and gave him a chance.
"Hey Snipe!" Tadpole said.
"Yes, hi." the leader replied.
"Aren't you glad you didn't kill me?"
"Heh heh! Yes."
Nile purred and nuzzled her mate.
"Our kits will be proud to have an uncle like him." she told Snipe.
"Kits?!" both toms gasped.
"Yes Snipe! You're going to be a father!"
The tom and she-cat purred and nuzzled each other.
Tadpole looked away, jealous.
That night he dreamed:
"Mistyfoot, they're wonderful."
Four kits nursed on their mother.
"I love you. Never leave me." Mistyfoot said.
"I never meant to."
"You are so brave, my mate, you'll never run off when the world gets tough. You never choose an easier life."
Then a voice filled Tadpole's head : "But you did! You left her! This is what will never happen all because of you!"
The scene faded and in its place stood Tigerstar and Hawkfrost.
"Weak. You were in for a life of heartbreak anyway. You traitor, time will tell until you betray BloodClan too?" Tadpole's father said.
"I was killed by a traitor yesterday. I'm Dead! Dead! If you'd been there I'd still be alive! You're right, we're not truly brothers!" Hawkfrost yowled.
Both toms sneered and Tadpole dipped his head.
"You have no idea what you've missed, living like a kittypet!" Tigerstar sneered.
"Kittypet! Kittypet! KIttypet!" the dead toms sneered.
When Tadpole awoke, he knew what he must do.
Tadpole took one look at his half siblings and sighed.
"Are you sure that you want to do this?" Snipe asked.
"Yes Snipe." Tadpole bowed his head.
"You are always welcome back here if you decide so."
"I thank you." Tadpole said, his voice cracking.
Tadpole slunk towards Claw, Nile, Stripe, and Spear.
Nile's stomach was swollen with unborn kits.
"Stripe, Spear, Claw... Goodbye. Nile, please forgive me for never getting to meet your kits." Tadpole said, regretfully.
"Tadpole... please don't go." Nile's green eyes flashed with sadness.
Her striped face dipped down and she sighed.
"I'm not leaving for any reason except that my mate is in trouble." Tadpole said.
"then go. I'll never forget you." Spear said.
"Yes, if I ever find a mate, I'll give my life for her also." Claw said.
Solemnly, Tadpole took one last look and ran, unable to keep himself from crying out.
A large white tom caught his eye.
"leaving are you?" he asked.
"What do you want, Khan?"
"You are leaving us, how unsurprising, son of Tigerstar." Khan spat.
"Get out of here." Tadpole hissed and stalked off.
"If you ever come back, you're in for a surprise..." Khan sneered and turned away.
"What did you say?" Tadpole asked.
The slinking tom didn't give an answer as he disappeared from sight, into the shadows.
Khan had always given Tadpole a strange feeling, but something really seemed off this time.
His broken heart pounded in his chest.
Many days passed and the rain kept pouring as if crying for Tadpole.
He sat on the sidewalk watching the monsters go by.
I wonder how Mistyfoot is doing without me.
The last Tadpole had seen of his mate was her blue eyes looking around the bars of the cage.
As worried as he was, Tadpole stood strong.
He was a traitor, Tigerstar and Hawkfrost had told him so, yet he knew he needed to make up to his mate.
His drenched fur clung to him as he raced down the sidewalk, making sure that no twolegs had any idea of bothering him.
He slept in boxes in alleys every night and ate any scraps he could find.
He truly was a rouge now.
Days turned into weeks.
Weeks turned into moons.
Twelve moons passed, and Tadpole still searched, knowing that he was now about 3 and a half years old.
He had been 1 and a half last time he saw Mistyfoot,
He wondered if she was even still alive.
Tadpole gasped as he recognized that twisted path.
He darted towards the familiar forest.
Mistyfoot! I'm coming, my love!
He thought of her soft pelt and warm gaze.
Then he thought about how he had last seen her.
How he had ended up in this mess.
He had to set her free.
He just wondered how.
What if it was too late?
Oh my love... please be okay...
He was excited for what came next.
That is until he saw the wreck of what was once the forest...
The twolegs had come.
This is the end of the preview, to continue reading, go to The Warrior Cats fan hq
(The reason I did this is that I wanted it posted on two wikis and didn't want to keep updating both versions. I have nothing against this wiki or have a favorite, I just was trying to make it easier for myself.)