This is my first fanfic, so yeah :P
This takes place in a world where SkyClan never left, Rusty never joined ThunderClan, and Tigerclaw died as a kit with his littermates. It takes place around the time before they would have left for the Great Journey.
Leader: Emberstar - a fiery orange she with no distinct markings and emerald green eyes
Deputy: Aspenclaw - a honey eyed, fawn colored tom with slightly darker brown paws and tail
Medicine Cat: Spottedheart - a mostly brown calico she with medium brown eyes
Gorsefang - Spottedheart's brother, a medium grey tom with green eyes and white stripes, paws, muzzle, and tail tip
Birdsplash - Gorsefang's mate, a dark brown she with an even darker brown tail and muzzle, she also has amber eyes
Berrystripe - a rusty ginger tom with some scarce golden brown stripes and dark brown eyes
Appleblaze - Berrystripe's calmer sister, a light and dark orange cat with slightly lighter brown eyes Apprentice: Rainpaw
Pearpelt - the 3rd, and angrier, sibling, a golden brown she with medium brown eyes, tail, ears, and belly Apprentice: Featherpaw
Briarfrost - Berrystripe's mate and a former loner, a medium brown she with white markings and green eyes
Addertail - a beige tabby tom with yellowy green eyes
Acornheart - a calm dark brown senior warrior with orange stripes, a white tail and underbelly, and golden eyes
Nightfire - a black tom with distinct red flame looking markings and bright green eyes Apprentice: Stormpaw
Stormpaw - a dark greyish brown she with a darker brown tail, neck tuft, ears, and paws, and she has honey colored eyes
Rainpaw - a blue grey tom with teal eyes
Featherpaw - a grey she with black and white markings and yellow eyes
Moonheart - Addertail's mate, a black she with white markings and blue eyes, nursing Snowkit, Fawnkit, and Bearkit
Icefur - Nightfire's mate, a white she with a cream paw and tail and yellow eyes, nursing Amberkit and Ravenkit
Snowkit - a white tom with black stripes and blue eyes
Fawnkit - a beige tabby she with blue eyes
Bearkit - a large, dark brown tom with golden brown paws and ears, and yellowy green eyes
Amberkit - a beige tabby she with dark blue eyes
Ravenkit - a black she with lime green eyes
Webfoot - a light grey tabby tom with light blue eyes
Hatchpelt - a dark grey tom with a darker grey tail and ears and dark green eyes
Chapter 1Stormpaw padded through the brambles quickly, a scrawny mouse is her jaws. It was the only prey she'd found all day, though she usually was a great hunter. It was even her fault though, the twolegs had been driving all the prey into hiding with their loud noises encroaching on the forest. It had started only days ago, but were making quick progress and the clan was getting hungrier with every passing day.
She reached the camp, the rest of the hunting patrol trailing behind her. It was a miracle that she had even caught the mouse. Cats looks out from their dens as they walked in, wailing in despair when they saw her mouse, and only her mouse. Stormpaw went to the nursery, the two queens and their litters thinner than before. She passed the mouse to Moonheart and Icefur, and they distributed it to the kits silently.
"What is this? One mouse caught by an apprentice!?" Emberstar strode in saying angrily, the orange she cat had been stressing over the lack of prey ever since it started because they were on the border of the forest, and getting the worst of it.
"Emberstar, we were lucky to have even caught the mouse." Aspenclaw tried to reason, but Emberstar would have none of it, "Aspenclaw, we will starve if we cannot catch enough prey, send out another hunting patrol."
Aspenclaw look startled, "We haven't sent out border partols though."
"Will borders matter if there are no cats left within them?" Emberstar stared her deputy down angrily, and flicked her tail as she padded out of the camp, "I'll catch prey myself then."
Stormpaw sighed, heading to the apprentice den where Rainpaw and Featherpaw were sat.
"Stormpaw, you were always a good hunter, why couldn't you catch more than that mouse? You proved you can do it, why not do it more?" Featherpaw glared at her, rude and stuck up as usual, "I'm going to go ask Pearpelt to take me hunting, because clearly, you are incapable of doing so."
Rainpaw rolled his eyes, "You go do that, maybe it will teach you how to be helpful." Stormpaw smirked at her as Featherpaw hissed at him and left to go find her mentor.
Rainpaw turned to Stormpaw, "You know, the twolegs could actually starve us."
"You think they'd actually destroy this forest?" Stormpaw turned her head to look at the horizon, and the twoleg monsters where there were usually trees.
Rainpaw looked at his paws, his eyes clouding as he turned inward toward his thoughts, "StarClan came to me in a dream, Stormpaw. The clans won't exist if we stay here."
Stormpaw snapped her head towards him, "Are you saying we have to leave? Where would we go?"
"There are loners who live outside the clans, they could help us." Rainpaw stood up, "I'm going out."
Stormpaw stood up after him, "You need to tell Spottedheart!"
Rainpaw ignored her, pushing though the camp entrance and veering towards the ThunderClan border. Stormpaw followed him silently, staying downwind and stalking after him. Why would he go to the ThunderClan border, Stormpaw wondered. Rainpaw stopped at the border and turned in the direction of the Fourtrees, carefully avoiding making noise in the denser forest. Stormpaw stopped guiltily, he was only going this way to be farther from the twolegs.
She turned away from him, going back to the camp, when she caught a faint scent. She sniffed the air, the scent was almost gone, but she could tell Featherpaw had been here.Featherpaw had gone to find Pearpelt, but she didn't scent Pearpelt anywhere. Stormpaw followed the trail, but it only led to camp. She ducked into the camp, scanning for Featherpaw, but instead was called over by Appleblaze, "I saw you follow Rainpaw out of camp, where is he. We're to go on another hunting patrol."
Stormpaw shook her head in reply, "I saw him head to Fourtrees."
Appleblaze looked momentarily confused, but she smiled, "Okay, thanks Stormpaw." Then Appleblaze flicked her tail, the only sigh of her annoyance as she bounded away into the forest.
"Stormpaw, catch me a mouse will you?" Hatchpelt jeered at her from the elder's den, the tom grouchier than ever with the hunger plauging the forest. Stormpaw flattened her ears against her head, she had never like the tom before, and she certainly didn't now as he laughed at her, his brother Webfoot scolding him, "Stop picking on her, at least she caught something." Hatchpelt snarled in responsed, but remained silent.
Stormpaw scanned the clearing again, her eyes resting on a especially smug looking beige she cat. Pearpelt. Stormpaw narrowed her eyes, had Pearpelt been there the entire day? She certainly hadn't been on the hunting patrol she had been on. And Aspenclaw had just taken out another hunting patrol, Pearpelt didn't go either, or she wouldn't be here. She hissed, of course Pearpelt had been laying there all day! The mangy cat hadn't even bothered to help her clan.
Stormpaw stopped in front of her, Pearpelt lifting her head slightly, "What is it?" Stormpaw hissed, "You've been laying there all day, that's what. At least go on a border patrol if you can't be bothered to hunt, or train the apprentice you've been neglecting!"
Pearpelt lazily lifted herself to her feet, "I'll have you know that I have not been neglecting Featherpaw, merely offering her different ways to train. And obviously, I'm doing a good job, because featherpaw isn't standing around camp gossiping with the elders and yelling at warriors."
Stormpaw hissed in annoyance, "Oh yeah? Exactly what opportunities have you been granting her by laying in camp all day?"
Pearpelt smiled coyly, " I do believe an opportunity to learn about the twoleg place by training with rogues is a good opportunity considering Rainpaw's visit from StarClan."
Stormpaw blinked, "You let rogues train your apprentice!? Emberstar will hear about this." Stormpaw whirled and raced out of camp, making a beeline to the twoleg place.
Chapter 2Her pawsteps slowed as she reached the edge of her territory, closer to camp than the day before. She paused at the edge of the treeline, taking the various twoleg mosters crouched there, waited for their twolegs to come the next day. Stormpaw shook her head, another pawstep and it would be out of her territory. How had Featherpaw been coming here unnoticed? She sniffed the air. Though rank with the stench of twolegs, she could make out Featherpaw's scent clearly, her littermate hadn't even bothered to try and disguise herself.
Stormpaw hissed, ducking her head to better follow the trail. She crept past the sleeping monsters, giving their thick black paws and hard shiny pelts a wide berth. She wouldn't put it past a twoleg to suddenly come check up on their monster.
A harsh laugh stopped her dead in her tracks, and Stormpaw whirled to see a wiry tom smirking down at her from atop one of the larger monsters. "Where do you think you're going?" the tom crooned at her mockingly, and Stormpaw glared at him, ignoring his taunts. She crouched underneath a small bush, surprised to see the tom next to her.
"I'm a clan cat, get your mangy pelt away from me!" Stormpaw hissed at the tom, unsheathing her claws and doing her best to appear menacing, despite only having started her training two moons ago. The tom cocked his head, looking her up and down before settling next to her in the bush.
"Clan cats shouldn't be out in these parts after dark, especially not young ones like you. Besides, what are you doing here anyway?" he glanced at her curiously, his scrawny white pelt catching some light from the twoleg nests around them.
"I'm looking for my sister." Stormpaw said hesitantly, unsure of whether the tom would help her. The tom only hissed when he heard her, "So she's the one whose been stealing our food and scaring off my friends? Come along, i know just where to find her."
Stormpaw followed the wiry cat our of the bush, her fur bristling at the thought of her littermate stealing food from rogues. Her own sister would surley know the warrior code better than that, though Stormpaw wouldn't put it past her. It was true that SkyClan had been suffering food shortages lately, but it still didn't make that right. the tom leaped up onto a fence, stalking along it quietly and he headed pointedly deeper into the twoleg place. Stormpaw only hoped her could remember her way out.
The tom veered into an alley, flicking his tail towards a short wall, and Stormpaw heard the unmistakable whine of Featherpaw's voice. She could also make out the voices of two other cats, probably the ones who agreed to train her. Stormpaw glanced around, searching for the rogue who had brought her there, but he was already gone. She supposed she could either find her own way out of go confront her littermate.
Stormpaw made her choice, jumping up onto the ledge. She stood quietly, observing the alleyway. It was filled with trash, hastily pushed aside to from a small training area. Large boxes stood in dark corners and in the front to obscure the view. In the center of the makeshift arena, she could see Featherpaw and a large muscular black and white tom. Perched on one of the crates sat another large tom, his russet pelt appearing almost black in the shadows. Featherpaw and the tom were battling eachother, the russet tom pointing out viable options for Featherpaw as they fought.
It took them awhile to notice her presence, but when they did, they turned to her, unsheathing their claws and growling menacingly. "What are you doing here? Any cat should know this is our territory." the black and white tom hissed, shouldering his way forward. "Bone, that's a forest cat." the red tom said slowly, as if nervous. So it was the black and white tom- Bone, who was in charge here.
"Forest cat? Do you know her?" Bone searched Featherpaw's face for any sign of recognition, hissing when he saw her surprise. "Did you bring her here? She'll tell your whole clan, and then they'll come after us!" Bone yowled at Featherpaw slicing his claws across her ears.
Featherpaw recoiled, glaring at them. "Why would I bring my disgusting sister here anyways? Pearpelt must have told her." Featherpaw asserted herself, transferring the blame to someone else as she always did.
"Pear was the one who made our arrangement." Bone hissed, "She wouldn't give it up."
"Even if it was Pear, your nasty little attitude won't be missed, right Bone?" the red tom sneered at Featherpaw, pausing only to glance in Bone's direction for confirmation.
"Exactly. Chase these two pests out of our land, and out of this twoleg place, Brick." Bone smirked at Featherpaw, and then turned to give Stormpaw a cold look.
Featherpaw bounded up the boxes past Stormpaw, who whirled to follow her. Brick yowled, swiping his claws at their tails whenever he could. Featherpaw dashed across the thunderpaths, ducking and weaving around fences and monsters, Stormpaw hard on her heels.
The sisters pushed themselves as the treeline came into view beyond the twoleg monsters, and Brick slowed his chase, prowling near the nests in case they turned back.
Stormpaw stalked through the forest towards camp, speeding up in order to be further away from Featherpaw. She could not believe that her own sister would train with rogues like that. She would be reporting this behavior to Emberstar. Featherpaw sulked behind her, her tail trailing on the forest floor.
Stormpaw pushed her way into camp, Featherpaw trailing slowly behind her. Pearpelt lay in the entrance to the warriors' den, smirking lazily at them when she saw them pad in. Some other cats around camp also turned their heads, frowning at the two apprentices. Stormpaw looked around in confusion, glancing at Rainpaw in the apprentice den, but only turned his head away from her.
Nightfire, Stormpaw's mentor stalked toward them, his eyes full of anger and disappointment. "I get back to camp and Pearpelt tells me you two have been training with rogues!? Am I not a good enough mentor for you, Stormpaw!?" Nightfire hissed at her, and Storpaw realized what Pearpelt had done. Now she couldn't possibly accuse Featherpaw and Pearpelt without bring anything upon herself!
Chapter 3The two sisters sat in their den, Rainpaw ignoring both of them. Stormpaw turned towards Featherpaw, furious with herself.
“How is any of this fair? Why am I in trouble? I didn’t do anything!” Stormpaw burst out angrily. Featherpaw shrunk back, nervous that Stormpaw might attack her in her rage.
“Stormpaw-” Featherpaw started but she was cut off.
“No! I won’t sit around and pick ticks of the elders with you! I shouldn’t be in trouble, I should be helping! As one of the best hunters in the clan, I should be hunting! Especially when prey is so scarce!”
Featherpaw opened her mouth, but a hiss outside telling them to be quite silenced her. Rainpaw turned towards them, “Stormpaw, if you want to hunt so badly, just do it. It isn’t my problem but if it will stop you from screeching, just go.”
Stormpaw seemed about to yell again, but she only got up and pushed the brambles out of the way, walking into the center of camp. Briarfrost was sat near the entrance to camp, and noticed Stormpaw’s appearance.
“Where are you going at this time of night?”
Stormpaw groaned, but she had always liked Briarfrost, so she answered truthfully and plainly, “I’m going hunting.”
Briarfrost shook her head, “Now?”
“Yes now. They won’t let me in the day.” Stormpaw flicked her tail, padding out of camp despite Briarfrost’s protests.
The night air was cold, but Stormpaw’s thick fur made it pleasant. She went to her favorite hunting spot, it was where she had caught the mouse earlier. The nuts that fell from this tree always attracted squirrels, mice, voles, birds, you name it. She scented the air, and was shocked. There were at least tree mice under the leaves, multiple squirrels in the trees, and she could even hear birds rustling the leaves. She crouched, stalked forward slowly, being careful not to make any noise that might scare off her prey. Then she pounced, her claws landing squarely on a plump mouse. She shook her head, the mouse she had caught in the day hadn’t been half the size. Stormpaw smiled to herself, and quickly caught another mouse, and a bird. All this prey would surely feed the clan.
Stormpaw made her way back to camp slowly, noticing all the prey that had seemed so scarce during the day.
Stormpaw padded towards camp, struggling to help all three animals in her jaws. Briarfrost then noticed her presence by smelling the prey and blinked. Stormpaw tried to smile, dropping the bird in the process.
Briarfrost didn’t hesitate when she rushed forward to help the apprentice. Together, the she cats dropped the prey onto the place where the freshkill pile should have stood.
Stormpaw looked around at her clan. The pelts the could see were ragged and half starved, and Stormpaw smiled to herself again before padding into her den to sleep.
Chapter 4Stormpaw woke up early, despite the previous night’s endeavors. In fact, she was the first cat awake. She stretched, and wandered towards the newly replenished prey pile, finding both mice and the bird laying on the ground precisely where she had left them. Stormpaw reasoned that she could spend the day resting, and then spend the night hunting. Of course, she would still be called for border patrols, and Nightfire might want to teach her to climb or do some battle moves.
She decided to lay on the rocks while her clanmates were waking up to try and get some rest that she had missed.
Soon enough, cats were waking up to find her prey on the pile. They seemed to hesitate, not wanting to ruin the moment by actually taking it. Emberstar had woken up and she split the pile evenly between al the cats, then asked who had hunted the prey.
Stormpaw stood up, “I hunted it.”
Some cats were grateful, though surprised that she had caught so much healthy prey, especially with her being very young. Other cats just ignored her and asked who really caught the prey.
Briarfrost nodded to confirm that Stormpaw had indeed caught it, “She left camp at night, and returned with it.”
Emberstar was indecisive about the matter and only said that regardless of who had caught it, they should be grateful to have prey in this time of starvation.
Aspenclaw, deeming the matter of the prey over, began calling patrols, “Gorsefang, I’d like you to lead a border patrol along our ThunderClan boundary, take Addertail, and maybe Pearpelt and Featherpaw as well.”
Gorsefang called the cats together, with Pearpelt and Featherpaw being on the more reluctant side. The patrol left camp, and Aspenclaw began calling hunting patrols, “Appleblaze and Nightfire, you can take your apprentices hunting along the river.”
Nightfire began leading them away, and Aspenclaw’s voice faded away as they got farther and farther from the camp.
“Let’s look for prey along the riverbank first,” Appleblaze suggested to Nightfire, “then we can teach the apprentices some tricks for hunting in the trees.”
Nightfire nodded his approval, and flicked his tail towards the apprentices. Stormpaw scented the air, she couldn’t smell any prey nearby, and when she listened closely, the only sounds were those of her clanmates, the river, and the faint noise of the twolegs and their monsters. The wind was also silent, and she couldn’t hear the trees if she tried. Rainpaw had the same luck and shook his head, “Maybe there are squirrels in the trees?”
Nightfire checked only to come to the same conclusion, there simply was no prey. He sighed, “The prey is likely hiding because of the twoleg monsters and their dreadful noise.”
The cats climbed up the riverbank, Appleblaze leading the way. The tall trees looked imposing from the ground view, but Stormpaw knew it was much less daunting when you were actually in the branches, even if it was still scary. She had only climbed once before, with her siblings on their first day out of camp as apprentices when they were touring the territory, but that was in shorter trees. Maybe instead of hunting for prey that wasn’t even there, she could learn to climb better, and then she could catch even more prey.
“If the prey isn’t out because of the noise, why don’t we spend the day learning to climb or fight?” Stormpaw posed the question as they wandered along the treeline in search of squirrels or birds.
Her mentor paused to consider the suggestion, “I’d have to ask Emberstar if it’s okay, especially if you’re asking to hunt at night.”
Appleblaze nodded, “Hunting at night is dangerous, foxes and badgers come out at dusk, and often stay out later into the night. If they find you, you could get seriously hurt. You were lucky last night.”
Stormpaw shrunk back as if she had been hit when Nightfire agreed with Rainpaw’s mentor. She had the solution to their starvation, but nobody wanted to support her. Maybe Briarfrost would hunt with her to support the clan. Maybe she could find a group of cats to hunt with her at night, so that they wouldn’t starve. Or she could just convince Emberstar, that would be safer, and then she wouldn’t have to break the code. She would worry about that later. For now, she would learn to climb.
“Well, can you teach us to hunt in the trees? Like Skystar, in the beginning?” Stormpaw bounded over to a birch tree that had some branches closer to the ground.
“Hunting in the trees is a lot more challenging than just climbing” Nightfire walked past Stormpaw’s birch tree to a sturdier ash tree, “Besides, it also requires knowing what trees to climb.”
Rainpaw found a different birch tree, and asked his mentor if it was a good tree. She said yes and Stormpaw frowned in annoyance. She would just have to learn, that’s all. Stormpaw went to her mentor’s ash tree, but she was perplexed at how to climb it. None of the branches were anywhere near the ground, it would be impossible to get up it. Her birch tree seemed much more reliable.
“See these grooves in the bark?” Nightfire put his paw onto the ash tree’s trunk, “A birch tree’s bark is a lot smoother, and the branches are usually higher, which makes them more difficult to climb.”
Stormpaw groaned, now that he pointed it out, it was as obvious as a dead mouse. Not that there were any dead mice, or any mice at all.
Nightfire demonstrated by easily scrambling up to where two branches forked off of the main trunk. Then he called down to her, “Climb up to that branch,” he flicked his tail to a thick branch a little lower than his, “You’re a SkyClan cat with SkyClan blood, it should feel natural.”
She looked back to see Appleblaze and Rainpaw watching her from the birch tree her brother had selected. Not wanting to be outshone by her littermate, she sprang up onto the rugged bark, her claws digging into it and propelling her body upward.
Nightfire smiled, “You’re a natural! I wasn’t able to scale a tree this tall until I was at least a moon into my apprenticeship. You’ll be able to hunt in the trees as easily as you hunt on the ground in no time.”
Stormpaw stood up on the branch she had been crouched on. Her tail got caught in the process and she hissed, yanking her tail out of the trap and barely managing to remain stable on her perch.
Nightfire chuckled, “I guess the first lesson we’ll have in the treetops should be on balancing.”
Stormpaw sighed, bouncing quickly up to where her mentor sat, “It’s like ground hunting, right? You use your tail for balancing and keep your weight centered, right?”
“Close enough. When you’re in the trees, constantly using your tail to balance would mean that it could easily get caught on twigs or small branches. Only use it to help when you are transitioning from one branch to another,” he demonstrated by jumping up to a branch not much higher than the one they were on, “If you keep yourself close to the trunk, you’ll be more stable, but if you’re moving, then yes, keeping your weight centered would be a good tactic.”
The two cats climbed up the tree, one explaining to the other various way to climb better or faster as they went up. The other pair had scaled a birch tree, but they had to put in more effort because of their choice of tree, and they didn’t reach the height the first pair did because of it.
The four cats later regrouped and returned to their camp, having only a small bird to show for their efforts. Other hunting patrols had similar or worse results, and with the camp once again in a state of starvation, Stormpaw decided that sleep would just have to wait.