Episode 4, Season 2 of Home. Enjoy and please tell me what you think :)
Congrats on your new rollback rights!
When I woke up the next morning Redpoppy was limping through camp gently, her front right paw imminently injured.
I had been quick to rush out of the apprentice den, and quickly run up to the warrior, tipping my head gently to the side.
“Are you okay?” I had asked her, before realizing what an obviously stupid question it was, “I mean, what happened to your paw?” I had gently lowered my head to inspect it.
“Move away, Aquapaw!” I found myself gently being shoved aside by Razorclaw, the new medicine cat of WaterClan who had quite a strange name for a medicine cat.
Redpoppy gently purred, “I was actually hunting this huge sparrow, when it began to fly up a tree. I followed it up, and I did catch it, in fact, when Wetstream returns I’ll assume that she will bring it with her when she returns. But I fell out of the tree in the process.”
“Wow!” I exclaimed, “How high up were you?”
“Aquapaw,” Razorclaw coughed gently, “I think that will be enough with the questions for-”
“I was halfway up the large oak tree in the middle of the territory,” Redpoppy claimed.
“I can never climb two branches up that tree without falling!” I let out a loud huff, before looking up at her hopefully, “Could you teach me how to climb it? All the other apprentices would be so impressed?”
Redpoppy appeared to be sustaining a purr of amusement and was just about to respond when she was cut off by Razorfang.
“Redpoppy needs to rest, Aquapaw, and you need to see to your duties as an apprentice before I call your mentor!”
“Fine,” I grumbled forcefully, marching away from the crabby medicine cat in a loud huff, but knowing that Redpoppy would see me again soon for those tree climbing lessons.
They would not slip from my paws.
“Hey, Aquapaw,” I turned around to find Featherpaw gently gazing at me, “What happened yesterday?”
“Birdwing found out...” I paused, “A lot of things, and I think Bramblestar prefers we had never learned most of them.”
“Like?” Featherpaw gazed at me expectantly.
“Star has a Clan,” I claimed, “She named it StarClan, I think mocking our ancestors.”
I saw rage gently bubbling behind Featherpaw’s calm eyes, “How dare them!” she hissed loudly.
I nodded, as I still felt outraged at the news, “They are bigger than we thought, as well. Lots of cats. They are not as great as us, but they can actually be considered a Clan.”
Featherpaw’s eyes widened and I could almost detect fear behind the gaze of the brave she-cat.
But not quite.
“What if they try to attack?” she asked.
“They wouldn't dare,” I hissed, baring my teeth, before straightening myself, “But they are welcome to since I am especially itching to slide my claws down their pelts.”
“Watch what you wish for, Aquapaw,” I heard a soft voice whisper behind me and whirled around to find my mentor smiling at me.
“Oh,” I whispered, blushing, “Sorry.”
“As you should be,” she responded primly, before gently giving me a glance, “Are you ready to head out hunting?”
“Sure!” I responded, feeling a little energetic rush at the thought of being able to prove myself to the Clan by bringing back a load of prey, just like I did every time I left for hunting.
I hate to point out that I never do.
But it’s not my fault that I can’t hunt.
I guess both of my mentors are just horrible at teaching me how to do it and that is why I can’t.
I won’t get into details on how my hunting assessment went.
But I will say I was a little disappointed with the amount of prey that I caught.
But it was not my fault.
My mentor just did a bad job of instructing me.
“I guess I’m not the only one who had a tough hunt,” Redpoppy claimed, sort sympathy flowing through her voice as I entered the medicine cat’s den, dropping off a mouse for Razorclaw.
“Yeah,” I shrugged, not bother to question how she knew that I hadn't caught anything. Probably my slumping shoulders.
“You’ll get the hang of it,” Redpoppy promised me gently.
“I hope so,” I responded calmly, trying not to let on any emotion flow through me.
“I promise,” She whispered gently, “I know you aren't one of those apprentices that quickly give up, Aquapaw.”
I smiled a quick thanks before leaving the den, feeling a little bit better about my failure.
Until Rainpaw showed up, with her three catches.
Luckily she didn’t tease me about it, and instead, just bounded up to me after I dropped my prey in the fresh-kill pile.
“Want to go swimming in the river?” she asked me, as Featherpaw gently approached us.
“Sure,” I purred and Featherpaw nodded. My paws had the urge to feel the soft, cool water beneath them.
“Great!” Rainpaw exclaimed, “Let’s go then!” there was a little bounce to each footstep as I followed her out of camp, excitement surging through me.
The last time I had been to the river was several moons ago, with Rainpaw again when we entered the cave.
I found my mind gently spinning as I began to remember everything that had passed since then.
The theft from FireClan.
Mistypaw and Birdwing’s capture.
The rescue mission to save them, where I actually saw Hawkstar.
Star was the memory that screamed louder than any of them, because, it seemed like, at the moment, that Star had the power of completely erasing them from the Clan.
Featherpaw seemed to be sensing my thoughts because she gently placed her tail on my shoulder.
“Star can’t defeat a strong Clan like us,” She whispered, “And if she tries, her attempt won’t last very long.”
I nodded, praying that what Featherpaw said was true, because it could mean the future of our Clan.
My thoughts occupied me as I gently paddled over to the river and only when I reached it were my thoughts cut off, by a loud cry.
Coming from camp.
It was, more, a combination of many cries. I could hear some of rage, some of fear, some of surprise and a surprisingly large amount of motivation.
The three of us exchanged quick glances before quickly turning around and dashing in the other direction, knowing that we had to be a part of the battle that was approaching.
Or had already come.
I could hear my footsteps echoing in my head as I raced through the woods, trying not to let my aching paws stop me until we reached camp.
And camp was chaos.
I could hear cats shouting and calling for help, and I was terrified but surprised at how powerful Star’s group was.
I didn’t need any confirmation to jump into the battle, as I outstretched my claws, aiming for the first cat they would reach.
I got a grip on a gray tabby tom, as I forcefully bowled him over and the two of us got into a fiery battle, each swipe made by his claw, barely missing my head.
I didn’t even realize how quickly I was pushing him further back until I realized he was standing right behind the medicine cat’s den.
“Redpoppy!” I heard a loud cry sounding from behind me, the scratchy one of Razorclaw, “Your paw is hurt! You can’t participate in the battle!”
I could see Redpoppy standing just a little behind me her eyes twinkling with light disappointment.
“I can still fight,” she gently insisted, as I dodged another blow from the rogue, “I promise I will be careful.”
“No,” Razorclaw replied sharply, “You can’t.”
“But...” Redpoppy gently stuttered, and I could almost feel helplessness radiating from her, “I can’t miss this battle!”
For a moment I thought Razorclaw would let her when sympathy flashed across his gaze.
“I understand that you want to help, Redpoppy, but with your injured paw you will only make things more difficult.”
For a moment I thought Redpoppy would refuse, and retort something to the snappy medicine cat.
But instead she gently sighed and I watched as she retreated back into the medicine cat den, obviously disappointed and I felt a pang of pity for her, knowing that it must be horrible not to participate in this battle.
I personally don’t think I would have ever listened to Razorclaw.
And I had to admire Redpoppy for being able to do that.
I felt my face making contact with something large and gently stumbled over as I felt a large paw against my face, groaning gently.
The gray tabby now was lowering his unsheathed claws onto my face and I gently squeezed my eyes waiting for a pair of sharp claws to reach my face, although they never did.
I opened my eyes to see that he was no longer looking at me, but now at Star, and following her around gently.
‘’She had them in a trance!’’
I realized that it was stupid of me not to guess that before. How else would she have been able to gather so many cats, so quickly?
I snarled gently, curling my lip, before jumping back up to my paws and springing at the strange loner.
She yelped in surprise as I knocked her over, and swiped at her head forcefully with a pair of claws.
Once she quickly jumped back up to her paws she gave me a loud hiss, and I returned it, keeping my gaze level with hers.
“Aquapaw,” she gently trilled my name and I snarled loudly, baring my teeth, prepared to pounce at her.
More than eager to do just that.
But she remained frustratingly calm, gently jumping from one paw to the other with eyes that shined like gentle diamonds.
“It’s pleasant to see you again,” she whispered gently, her eyes taunting me every time they glittered.
“I wish I could say the same,” I responded, forcefully.
Her claws gently dug into the sand and I could tell she was about to pounce when we were cut off by Razorclaw, screeching from the medicine cat’s den.
“No, Redpoppy, you can’t fight in the battle!” they were at the entrance again, and he was completely ignoring the pleading gaze on the face of the ginger she-cat.
Star gently unsheathed her claws, as she watched the gentle scene play out before her and I could see the she-cat scheming.
“Can’t I watch?” Redpoppy begged gently.
“Fine,” Razorclaw sighed, “But if I see you lay a claw on a single cat, even if you are saving the life of someone else, you will be confined to my den for several moons yet to come.”
“I understand,” Redpoppy sighed. I couldn't help wondering if Star had nothing better to watch but a grumpy old medicine cat.
It seemed that she had more in mind than watching a play unfolding, however, for she gently approaching Redpoppy completely ditching what was supposed to be an encounter I would brag to all the other apprentices about for many moons yet to come.
I let out a 'hrumph' before deciding to follow the she-cat, and see what she actually wanted of the young warrior.
Redpoppy hissed once she saw Star approaching and gently opened her jaw to call for help, before she-cat cut her off.
“You scared to fight me?” she teased, “Just because you sprained a paw?” her eyes glittered.
“I could take you down with my injured paw!” Redpoppy hissed, “I just promised Razorclaw-”
“And you are going to let that ruin the battle of your life?” Star gently tipped her head to the side.
For a moment I was completely oblivious as to what she was playing at, until it hit me so quickly, I cursed the loner for being so smart.
She was trying to distract the Clan by injuring Redpoppy in battle, to a fatal point, which would bring all attention to her.
And away from the camp we were working so hard to defend.
My jaw itched to call for Redpoppy to stop, however, I realized that this was a choice for her to make.
“Coward,” Star taunted again, “Too scared to take down a loner! What kind of a Clan cat are you?”
I could see Redpoppy’s claws shaking with fury and impatience as Star rambled on and on, growing her even wearier with every word until I was sure the warrior would snap, like just about any cat should have by that moment.
I know I would.
But Redpoppy, somehow kept her cool and gently let out a cry for help, not even giving Star a light cuff.
I couldn't help but just stand and watch her in deep admiration. It seemed that I had more to learn from her than how to climb trees.
“Watch them run!” Rainpaw chanted in joy, running back and forth near the entrance to camp, her eyes shining with unmatched excitement.
I purred, thrilled without victory against the crazy lot of loners, and proud of myself for how well I had fought, as well as all the praise I had received from my mentor, many of the senior warriors and even Bramblestar.
But as I turned my head I noticed Redpoppy gently sitting in the entrance to the medicine cats den. Her eyes seemed to carry the pride of the whole Clan and she obviously didn’t credit herself, thinking she didn’t deserve any because she hadn't fought.
But I knew that was besides the case.
If anything, she deserved the credit for our victory. Because she had been the only cat so far who had managed to defeat Star in a battle, even in it wasn't one of claws.
She was the real hero.