|The Fall||Succeded by: |
The Rising Star
The Fall is the Pilot episode of Unstable Time's season 1. Song featured is Time to Say Goodbye, by Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams.
Enjoy, read, and comment :)
There's a point where it tips, and there's a point where it breaks
There's a point where it bends and a point we just can't take
Snowfire had spent her whole warrior ceremony grieving for her father. Jaystar was noble and just, loved by all his clanmates. Her clanmates grieved as much as she did and now Thunderclan was left without a leader or a deputy. Both Hawkfeather and Jaystar had fought bravely against the other clans, but now all of them suffered for that war.
"Snowfire." Riverflight called, Snowfire looked up
"Yeah, what is it?" Snowfire asked quietly, she watched the other she-cat walk up to her cautiously.
Riverflight seemed to be choosing her next words carefully, "Some of us were wondering if we should start border patrols again, make them stronger, so we don't have a repeat of the war." She murmured quietly.
Snowfire blinked, and asked, "Why are you asking me? I'm not the leader."
"That's the thing, Snowfire. No one is, we need someone to at least give us a direction." Riverflight explained, and tipped her head to a group of warriors watching Snowfire carefully. Snowfire flicked her tail, and sighed, "Fine, let them know, remark the borders around Shadowclan especially."
Riverflight nodded, and led the other warriors out into the night, Snowfire looked up at the stars, and murmured, "I wish you didn't leave the clan so soon, father... There's still so much that needed to be done..." She blinked when the stars only twinkled sadly, even her mentor, Hawkfeather, was taken away from her. The always laughing, goofy, bumbling tom brightened up the clan even in the darkest times, and taught Snowfire more than just hunting and fighting moves, Yet... I'll never be able to fill either of them's place... She thought sadly.
She looked back at the nursery, she jumped when someone laughed behind her, and said, "It's been a long time since you were in there, Snowfire."
Snowfire looked back to see Leafwind sitting by her, Hawkfeather's mate. Snowfire pointed out, "You're still in there."
"Yes," Leafwind murmured, and her eyes grew sad, "However, the kittens are old enough that I at least get to walk around, it's nice, even if Hawkfeather isn't making some joke about how flowers should be put on the brambles to make it more welcoming beside me, not anymore." She padded up to Snowfire, and sat beside her, and looked up into the skies as well.
Snowfire whispered, "I'm sure he's watching his family from Starclan."
Leafwind nodded, and laughed, "Don't let yourself be stressed from what the cats are saying, take your time, both your father and Hawkfeather always did." She stood up and walked away.
Snowfire muttered under her breath as the other she-cat walked away, "That's what got them killed..."
Leafwind seemed to be the only one that accepted the fact that Snowfire just wasn't ready to be a leader, not so soon after being made a warrior, not so soon after her father's death. However, the other cats weren't as patient, she understood their fear, if Thunderclan continued without a leader, the great clan of the forest would fall eventually, and she was the closest thing they had, even if she was just made a warrior.
What should I do? Snowfire thought, and looked up at the sky, she didn't get an answer except the wind through her fur, which only made her cold, she curled her tail to her side, and looked around the camp. It was oddly empty save for the remaining cats of Thunderclan, many warriors, even apprentices, had died protecting Thunderclan, it would take many moons to even start rebuilding, let alone have a real leader.
Snowfire felt a shot of anger course through her, but she resisted unsheathing her claws, it was a lesson her father had taught everyone, Revenge won't bring the dead back...
She decided to wait until the border patrol had come back, she dreaded the time where they would come back, give her their reports, and she had no idea what to do whatever it was that was happening on the border, Hawkfeather didn't prepare her for this. Snowfire spotted the medicine cat, Vinespeck, a nimble spotted she-cat, watching her carefully, as if considering her.
Snowfire stood up and felt uneasy under her other clanmate's gaze. She jumped up the leader's tree, and sat there, looking over the rest of the camp. She flinched nervously when the cats continued to watch her expectantly, she put her paws in front of her, and clawed the branch in frustration, I'm no older than an apprentice, Jaystar and Hawkfeather were the leaders, not me, I wanted nothing but to be a warrior, I don't want this...
When the sun rose into the sky, Riverflight and the patrol had returned, Snowfire jumped down to meet them, and asked, "So? Anything interesting?"
"Nothing." Riverflight reported, Snowfire breathed a sigh of relief, she spotted some apprentices sniffing the measly prey pile. Riverflight saw this as well, and Snowfire knew what was coming next, so she nodded, "Yes, hunting patrol." She said quickly before Riverflight could land it on her.
Riverflight nodded and flicked her tail to the two apprentices, who followed her out. Vinespeck walked up to her, and murmured, "You cannot avoid this, Snowfire, Thunderclan needs a leader."
Snowfire shook her head, "Thunderclan needs someone else, I'm not ready." She pointed out harshly, but Vinespeck didn't flinch.
"I watched your mother bring you into this world early, Snowfire, none of us are ready, but either we accept that we're not and prepare the best we can, or we all watch as this clan falls into the darkness ahead," Vinespeck grumbled, "Your clanmates are going to want you to get your nine lives, recently made warrior or not, I've seen signs from Starclan that this is what they want."
"Hawkfeather would be beside himself if he was here, it should've been him if anybody." Snowfire grunted.
Vinespeck looked up at the stars, "Maybe, but Hawkfeather is gone, I know your father believes you can do this, let me know when you're prepared for it, I'll take you to the moonpool. I will not rush you, but this needs to be done before Thunderclan crumbles, do what you can as a warrior." She said calmly and walked back to her den.
Snowfire groaned, she had no one to turn to, Hawkfeather wasn't there to point out that leaders aren't born, they're made, her father wasn't there to do the leading, her mother died giving birth to her, all her friends were gone, all that was left was a broken clan.
A broken clan that she was expected to lead into a new dawn.
Now it's time to say goodbye to the things we loved
and the innocence of youth
How the time seemed to fly from our carefree lives...
And the solitude and peace we always knew...
We can't just cling to childish things as evil just grows closer
the clans are in jeopardy
This fight is far from over
"Ashkit! From this moment on you'll be known as Ashpaw, your mentor will be Fogheart, I hope he teaches everything he knows to you." Darkstar called over the crowd. Ashpaw felt his fur bristle in excitement, I'm finally an apprentice! He thought excitedly as he and Fogheart touched noses, he heard all of Shadowclan call out his name, it made him feel great.
"I hope you're ready, Ashpaw, we have a lot of catching up to do since the war." Fogheart said coolly, Ashpaw brushed it off, though, and bounced excitedly.
Ashpaw spotted his mother and father on the sidelines, Fogheart flicked Ashpaw with his tail and nodded to his parents. Ashpaw bounded up to them, and said excitedly, "I'm an apprentice!"
His father, Skyflame, laughed, "I'm proud of you, Ashpaw, Fogheart's a great warrior, I grew up with him, be sure to listen to him."
His mother, Oaksong, laughed softly, "You grow too fast for me, Ashpaw."
"Aw, mom." Ashpaw flicked his tail in embarrassment. They all looked up when Darkstar called them again, "I will be sending several border patrols to both Riverclan and Thunderclan borders to strengthen the line between them."
Ashpaw watched as Fogheart called, "Thunderclan is weakened since you fought Jaystar and won, we should take some territory, we have so little prey, it's not like they'll be able to fight back, we need the prey. They don't have a lot of mouths to feed anymore."
Darkstar eyed Fogheart, "I did not like killing Jaystar, I respected him as a leader, it was an unfortunate accident, did you feel the same way when you killed his best friend when all he did was protect his camp and all who were in it, practically by himself?" He asked darkly.
"Hawkfeather? He laughed in my face as I killed him, he practically drove off my patrol all by himself before joining Starclan," Fogheart explained, "I did not care, either way, they are both dead, and Thunderclan is left without it's two best warriors. We should take what it's ours before they get a new leader."
Ashpaw asked Oaksong, "Who's Hawkfeather?"
Skyflame answered him, "Hawkfeather was the deputy of Thunderclan, I met him during a gathering, he always had a sense of humour to him, but I wonder if Fogheart was telling the truth if he kept that sense of humour right until the end."
Ashpaw shivered, Fogheart finally relented from Darkstar's gaze, and he called, "I do not want any of you overstepping to Thunderclan, the war was a mistake all of us had made, allow them their time to grieve, they lost two great warriors, understood?" He asked harshly, and all the cats bowed in submission. Fogheart didn't though, but Darkstar ignored him.
Darkstar called the meeting, Fogheart walked up to Ashpaw, and said, "I'm going to introduce you to the territory." He nodded to Oaksong and Skyflame and led Ashpaw out of the camp.
Ashpaw trudged through the mud that was Shadowclan's territory behind Fogheart, who didn't seem to be having any trouble. They stopped by a fishy smelling border, and Fogheart said, "This is Riverclan, their main prey source is fish, they're very hard to breach right into the camp, as they're surrounded by a river, well defended, don't underestimate them."
Ashpaw nodded, taking note in his head he turned to follow Fogheart, almost tripping into the mud. Fogheart ignored this and forged ahead. Ashpaw finally caught up, and soon they stopped by a leafy forest. Fogheart sniffed the air, and laughed, "Seems as if Thunderclan is trying to make it clear that we aren't allowed to cross."
"This is Thunderclan?" Ashpaw asked, and looked up at the magnificent leafy trees.
"Yes, Darkstar killed the leader, while I killed his deputy." Fogheart said calmly, which made Ashpaw nervous. Darkstar had seemed to regret what he did, while Fogheart seemed to not care.
"How did Hawkfeather drive your patrol off if you killed him?" Ashpaw asked.
Fogheart looked down at him coldly, "He drived off my patrol, then I killed him, but I had to retreat. My warriors were gone; there was no way I was going to reach the camp." He explained, and turned away from the border, flicking his tail frustratingly as he went. Ashpaw stood there, though.
"Ashpaw, come on, I'm going to teach you some basic hunting moves." Fogheart called.
Ashpaw finally turned around and followed Fogheart into the underbrush.
Were we born to fight and die?
Sacrificed for one huge lie?
Are we hero's keeping peace?
Or are we weapons?
Ravenwing ran through Windclan's seemingly endless fields, he had chased a couple of rabbits and won. He laughed, and said, "Sorry rabbit's, looks like Ravenwing wins the race this time," he buried the prey nearby, and bowed his head, "Thank you Starclan." He murmured, then sniffed the air.
He spotted a rabbit nearby, he crouched sneakily, and laughed to himself, "Ravenwing 3, Rabbit's 0."
He began the chase, the rabbit got startled, and ran away, he chased it across the fields and into the mossy ground, not that he was paying attention, his mind was on the chase, until a sleek dark grey furball bowled into him. He grunted as his back slammed into the ground, and the rabbit escaped, he sighed, "Ravenwing 2, rabbit's 1."
Ravenwing finally looked at his capturer, and his jaw dropped, the sleek dark grey she-cat stared down at him critically with sharp emerald eyes, and she asked dangerously, "Am I interrupting something?"
"Oh, nothing sweets, I was just you know, chasing a rabbit, for prey... To eat" Ravenwing answered.
She looked around, and murmured, "Couldn't you do that in your own territory?"
Ravenwing blinked in confusion, then looked around quickly. He spotted the reeds of Riverclan, and the grassy ground that wasn't Windclan, he sighed, "Whoops, my bad, so are you going to take me to your leader?"
She looked at him thoughtfully, and asked, "What's your name, Windclan?"
"Ravenwing, you know, for those black birds that fly around," Ravenwing said calmly, she rolled her eyes, he asked, "So? What's your name?"
"Silvershade, and you should be more careful," Silvershade jumped off him, and pointed out, "My clanmates haven't been as forgiving since the war, they'd sooner tear your throat out then make small conversation." She flicked her tail and turned away from him. He blinked, and thought quickly.
Ravenwing finally called back, "Why'd you let me go then?"
Silvershade perked her ears, and pointed out, "All you were doing was chasing a rabbit not paying attention where you were going, that's not really something punishable, just an honest mistake, everyone makes them." She shrugged.
Ravenwing stared as her tail waved into the bushes, he stood there like a dumbstruck squirrel, until a bird call shook him out of his stupor. He ran back to Windclan, unsure of what just happened, and unsure of the soft feeling in his chest. He grabbed the buried rabbits and ran back to camp.
Nightpaw, his apprentice, was waiting for him, she asked, "What took you so long? I came back a while ago."
Ravenwing didn't answer her at first, he put the rabbits down on the prey pile, and said, "Sorry, I got caught up."
Nightpaw laughed, "Sure, Ravenwing." She padded away to talk to her friends, and Ravenwing sighed in relief but jumped when another cat called his name.
"Sootstar!" Ravenwing gasped at his best friend.
Sootstar laughed, "Jumpy, aren't you? Did the rabbit's finally beat you to it? Not like you to lose a chase once you're in it, you're one of my best hunters." He nudged Ravenwing on the shoulder.
"Got caught up on something," Ravenwing reported, and nodded to the two rabbit's he caught, "I didn't come back empty-handed Sooty." He laughed, using the name Sooty since they were both kits. Sootstar didn't seem to mind, though.
"Good job then." Sootstar laughed, and walked away, Ravenwing looked around his clan, and thought grimly, Our clan got off lucky, we're still stable, after the war, the other three clans were affected too harshly, we haven't had a gathering in ages, our medicine cats haven't spoken with Starclan like they should...
He watched as Ivyblossom walked up to him, and asked, "Any luck on your hunt?" She asked.
"I lost." He pointed out, and shrugged.
Ivyblossom laughed, and brushed her tail down his flank, "How about tomorrow we both go hunting, they can't outrun both of us." She said quietly.
Ravenwing said, "Sure."
Ivyblossom walked away, but his mind wandered back to Silvershade, he could still see her sharp emerald eyes, the sleekness of her dark grey fur, and he thought, Silvershade, huh?
Are we pointed at the enemy...
So that someone else can claim a victory?
"Silvershade!" Silvershade looked up when she had walked back into camp, Sandsplash bounded up to her, and she asked, "Catch anything interesting?"
Silvershade laughed, and tipped her head, "I almost caught a rabbit, but I guess it was too fast for me." She joked.
"Silvershade, Sandsplash." Sparrowstar, the old Riverclan leader, walked up to them, after the war, he became more brunt and strict, everyone had to be doing something to strengthen the clan and make it last through the unstable times, Silvershade lowered her ears, and looked at Sandsplash.
"Yes, Sparrowstar?" Both she-cats asked quietly.
Sparrowstar eyed them both "We don't have time for chit-chat, we need to make sure no Shadowclan or Windclan cats get the idea that just because Thunderclan lost its foothold that we have either," he pointed out, then added, "I doubt you're planning on talking them to death, are you?"
Silvershade and Sandsplash shook their heads, and Silvershade pointed out, "But, Sparrowstar, it's not like they can swim, we're the only clan that can."
Sparrowstar growled, and asked, "What do you plan to do if they learn, Silvershade? We can't take chances, Windclan and Shadowclan will do anything to bring us to our end like they have Thunderclan, I will not take that chance," he sighed, and flicked his tail, "Now, I wanted you to take that patrol to Windclan, did you spot anything?"
Silvershade stopped, thinking quickly, and she mewed, "No, Sparrowstar, just a rabbit."
"Did you catch it?" Sparrowstar asked darkly, Silvershade stared him down and shook her head. Sparrowstar relented, and said, "Fine, Sandsplash, I want you to take Silvershade and do something resourceful, catch a couple fish, check the Shadowclan border, don't get caught with your tails between your legs."
He stalked off, and Silvershade sighed, Sandsplash muttered, "Come on, we don't want to make him angrier."
Silvershade followed reluctantly, and Sandsplash asked as they walked down to the river, "Why was he so keen on a rabbit? I don't think any of us have a taste for rabbit."
Silvershade shrugged, "No idea, maybe he thought where there's a rabbit there's a Windclan warrior chasing it." She said darkly.
"Was there?" Sandsplash asked quietly.
Silvershade stopped by the river, and looked up at the trees, she shook her head, "Just a raven." She said quietly.
"A raven? Haven't seen one of those in a while." Sandsplash kneeled by the river, ready to hook a fish. Silvershade was distracted, though, she watched the water lap onto the shore, and Sandsplash caught a fish.
"Nice!" Sandsplash laughed, and readied herself again, Silvershade finally shook her head, and leaned forward as well, she hooked a fish, feeling the scales on her claws, and threw it by Sandsplash's fish. Sandsplash sighed, "This is relaxing you know, no Sparrowstar huffing down our backs if we just sit back and relax for a couple minutes."
"He's been like that since the big war, I don't necessarily blame him, we lost Blackpaw, his only son. Now he's scared his whole clan is going to die like Blackpaw did." Silvershade muttered, and caught another fish. Blackpaw was her apprentice, she felt like a failure, but Ravenwing looked so much like Blackpaw that it took her off guard for that moment, Then I remembered... He's dead. She thought sadly.
Sandsplash mewed quietly, "A lot of the clans lost great warriors, Thunderclan lost Jaystar and Hawkfeather, the two only sane cats at the time, cut down without mercy, apparently Hawkfeather died protecting his apprentice and the camp, now that's what I call Thunderclan bravery."
"More like Thunderclan recklessness, wasn't it Fogheart that led the charge?" Silvershade whispered, she remembered Hawkfeather from gatherings, he was always good with the other clan cats, all the apprentices seemed to appreciate his sense of humour, he seemed to bring light to the usually grim gatherings, he was a genuinely good cat, not a malicious bone in his body.
"Yeah, piece of fox dung," Sandsplash spat, and caught another fish, "Did you ever talk with Jaystar or Hawkfeather?"
"Jaystar once, Blackpaw wanted to meet him, so I just walked up to him, he was very polite to Blackpaw, asked him how his training was going, they got along great," Silvershade stood up from the river, "Hawkfeather joked about how Riverclan she-cats seemed to sparkle no matter what their fur colour was, said I looked like a gray bird that took a dip and enjoyed it," Silvershade laughed, "I asked him if he'd look the same way if I pushed him into water, and he said 'I'd probably look like a startled Hawk.' and laughed his way back to the apprentices."
"Cat had a sense of fun on him." Sandsplash laughed.
Silvershade laughed as well, "They were great cats, but now they're gone and joined Starclan. Now we're all that's left of broken clans." She murmured.
"We can still fix it." Sandsplash muttered.
"The leaders all have their share of paranoia, can't take a walk without Sparrowstar breathing down your neck, but maybe someday, we can fix it like Hawkfeather and Jaystar so desperately tried to do." Silvershade murmured, and looked up at the sky.
Sandsplash laughed, "Yeah, I'm not the leader type, maybe you are, I can see it."
"I'd have to be deputy first." Silvershade pointed out, and laughed.
"Maybe someday, I think you of all people have a chance of bringing this clan together again." Sandsplash pointed out, and continued fishing, while Silvershade watched the sky and stars carefully.