|The Life of Brindlestar series|
|Preceded by: |
The Life of Brindlestar: The Beginning
|The Life of Brindlestar: The Dark Ages||Succeded by: |
The Life of Brindlestar: Rebellion
Allegiances (Updated regularly)
Leader- Hazelstar: Light brown tabby tom with greenish gray eyes
Deputy- Boothe: Long haired black and gray tom with battle scars and abnormally large claws
Medicine Cat- Larksong: Brown tabby she-cat
Luna: Black she-cat
Pierre: Timid wiry brown tom
Foxheart: reddish tom with white splotches
Dustfoot: Golden tabby tom
Bolt: Big white tom
Pounce: small gray she-cat
Flame: pale ginger tom
Sabretooth: Massive golden tom with sharp teeth
Frost: Pure white she-cat
Fallen: Black tom
Crusade: Reddish tom
Sierra: Reddish-Ginger she-cat
Fuzz: Fuzzy tabby she-cat
Monaco: Calico she-cat
Bullfrog: Bright silver tabby tom
Tigerfall- dark brown tabby and white tom with gleaming green eyes
Emberwing- Fluffy light gray she-cat, dark blue eyes
Ashfall- Fluffy light tom, dark green eyes
Heatherspring- Ginger she-cat
Leafwhisker- dark brown tabby tom
Gorsefall- light grayish-blue tom
Furzeberry- Tortoiseshell and white she-cat
Sandfoot- pale ginger she-cat
Lilyflower- brown and white she-cat with one blue eye and one gray
Oaktalon- Russet colored tom
Rosefall- Tawny colored she-cat
Whiteclaw- White tom
Snaketail- Tortoiseshell she-cat
Berryflower- Reddish-Cream she-cat
Sorrelpelt- Golden Brown tabby she-cat
Graypelt- Dark gray, almost black she-cat
Darkspots- Black tom with white spots and tipped-tail
Cloudpaw- White tom with ice-blue eyes
Brindlepaw- light brown tabby tom with one blue eye and one grayish-green eye
Pinepaw- pale brown tabby she-cat with gray eyes
Ravenpaw- Tall black tom with white chest and paws
Aspenpaw- dark brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes
Stormfeather- Black with amber eyes
Mother of Ashfalls kits: Cinderkit (fluffy dark gray she-cat with light green eyes) and Thornkit (Black tom with bright green eyes) (5 Moons)
Poppyleaf- dark tortoiseshell she-cat with dark amber eyes
Mother of Tigerfall's kits: Fallowkit (Black she-cat), Leopardkit (Dark brown tabby tom), Snowkit (white and tortoiseshell she-cat), Mintkit (white and dark gray tabby tom) (1 Moons)
Violet- dark ginger she-cat, expecting Hazelstar's kits
Pebblefoot- Very old dark gray tom. Grandson of the legendary Mistystar
Paleclaw- Very pale gray tom, with pale brown eyes
Nettleheart- brown tabby she-cat, green eyes
Littletail- short black tom with a stumpy tail with gray eyes
Birchpelt- short brown she-cat. Retired early due to unexplainable weakening of the muscles
Leader- Ivystar: Small reddish-brown and white tom
Deputy- Bonestripe: White tom with odd thin black strip on his spine, amber eyes. Great-Grandson of Dawnpelt
Medicine Cat- Jaywing: young light gray tom
Mousefoot- Gray tom with brown eyes
Eaglefrost- Pale gray tom
Berrystripe- Cream colored she-cat
Flowerstorm- White she-cat
Gingerpelt- Flame colored tabby she-cat
Ferretstripe- Black and gray tabby tom
Larkshadow- Dark brown tabby tom
Barktalon- Dark brown tabby tom
Breezecloud- Long haired light gray, with green eyes
Reedstorm- Tabby Queen
Dapplefur- small brown she-cat
Yellowtail- Very pale ginger she-cat
Leader- Oakstar: Bright ginger tom with white paws and tail. Grandson of Lionblaze and Cinderheart
Deputy- Mosswhisker: Brownish gray and gold tabby tom with hazel brown eyes
Medicine Cat- Minnowflight: Slender mottled gray she-cat with blue eyes
Stormbreeze: dark gray tom
Streamclaw- Gray tom
Poppyshade- Black she-cat
Nightfrost- Black and white she-cat
Silverheart- Blueish gray tabby tom
Tigerfoot- Dapple brown tom with gray eyes
Willowflower- Sleek light silver she-cat
Whitepelt- Large Black tom with white splotches and a white-striped tail
Blackstorm- Black tom
Grayfeather- Feathery Gray tom
Dustfur- Light Brown tom
Goosefeather- light gray tabby tom
Mintfeather- Pale gray queen
Rowanheart- Light Ginger tabby
Sunblaze- bright ginger tom
Frostheart- Pale gray she-cat
Dovewing- Pale gray she-cat, very very old
Leader- Birdstar: Pale ginger tom
Deputy- Lakestorm- Dark, watery black, tom with brilliant blue eyes
Great-Grandson of Breezepelt and Sunstreak
Medicine cat- Cherryspring- dark reddish-cream she-cat
Sproutpetal- Ginger and white she-cat
Orangefur- Oddly colored orange tom with no tabby stripes, green eyes
Leopardpelt- Brown she-cat
Rainwing- Dark gray tom
Moleflight- Dark brown and gray tom
Foxstep- White she-cat with reddish-brown paws
Firetail- bright ginger she-cat
Harepelt- Small, furry brown she-cat
Skyheart- Off whitish-blue tom
Mothshade- golden brown tom
Hawkeyes- Sharp brown she-cat with white ears, chest, two front paws and tipped-tail. Over-protective of hers (and all) kits
Daisystem- Skinny tortoiseshell with green eyes
Leopardstep- spotted golden tom
Coldleap- Dark black, watery black, tom. Green eyes. Grandson of Breezepelt and Sunstreak
- Two blue-gray she-cats were looking in a pool in the center of the grounds, with cats around them. They were grieving. Every time they looked, a black mist would cover it, and the smell of blood would fill their nostrils.
- The younger looked down at her paws, "I feel like its all my fault, we shouldv'e done something about Hazelstar. Oh." Mistystar sounded frustrated, "Why did we allow him to get nine lives? Its going to be almost impossible for him to die!" cats were starting to look panicky.
- "Now listen," her mother, Bluestar, scolded her, "It is not your fault. We couldn't have done anything about it, except give advice to Brindlepaw. You know things will come from him, whether good or bad, it's his choice.
- "To all the cats who are listening, listen up! I want to advise all of you to guide your clan-mates, especially you!" she pointed her tail to the group of RiverClan watching, "Things are about to change around the lake! Some of them, Permanently!" The cats gasped, and a tortoiseshell she-cat walked forward to speak.
- Bluestar dipped her head, "Spottedleaf would like to speak."
- "Bluestar, Cats. These times may be hard, but we will survive." her eyes clouded with wisdom, "There will be one cat, different from all the rest, that will start and end these times of cruelty and bloodshed."
- The cats around looked anxious, as Spottedleaf went on, "But for now, as I am horrified to say, I believe the clans have entered a time that was only experienced once. Yes, cats, we have entered the Dark Ages."
- Ice cold rain dripped down onto Brindlepaw from the roof of the den. He already had a cough, like everyone else, and it was torture for him to have to sleep in the cold and rainy. He wasn't the only one. The other warriors, apprentices, and queens were moved to different dens a quarter-moon after Hazelstar took over.
- Ever since Hazelstar was appointed leader, things have changed drastically for regular clan members. The warriors and apprentices, when not on patrol or hunting, were ordered to construct a den nice enough for the Blood warriors, the rogues that listened to Hazelstar. IT was made from perfect Holly Bushes, all in a round circle, with leaves hanging from thin stems over the ceiling.
- While the blood warriors were all nice and settled, the apprentices were forced to sleep in a single Ivy Bush that bordered the new training ground (Which made it easier for Hazelstar to supervise the training of his clan), the queens also slept under two ivy bushes, but they were right next next to the big river (Hazelstar extended the camp boundaries), so it was easy for a stray kit to slip on the shiny moss and fall into the river. The warriors slept under a mixture of different kinds of bushes, right in the entrance.
- And Hazelstar had the luxury of sleeping in a tree. He had his other warriors fit wood on the branches so Hazelstar could sleep in the tree comfortably, without falling out, and the branch where he made his announcements was right under him.
- Brindlepaw and Cloudpaw hated their father so much, that the only thing that made them not kill their father was the fierce Blood Warriors. He was so angry, that he didn't realize that he kicked his hind leg out and sprayed Ravenpaw with moss.
- "Hey!" he hissed, "Watch it!".
- "Sorry." he meowed in reply. Ravenpaw settled down again and quickly went to sleep.
- It didn't take much to set off a cat these days. Hazelstar had all the "others" in such a deep state in anxiety that stepping on a twig outside the nursery would have a queen screeching bloody murder in your face. Brindlepaw looked in dismay at Ravenpaw, Hazelstar is slowly turning all of us against each other!... he thought, ...and us "others" are all we have left.
- "Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join under the Great Tree for a clan meeting!" yowled the voice Hazelstar. Brindlepaw looked up, he was sharing a fish with Darkspots and Cloudpaw. When they gathered around they noticed this oddly shaped rock. It was smooth, and had pawprints and lines on it.
- "I have called you here to introduce a new system of rules."
- Shocked murmurs swept through the back of the clearing. The other warriors were ordered to sit in the back, while the blood warriors sat in the front. Some of them turned around to glare at the others, as to silence them.
- "From now on, you have to follow these rules: All cats must listen to their leader, failure to do so will result in execution, no matter what age." He glanced over at the kits, who looked on with round eyes.
- "Prey is eaten by the leader, then the Blood warriors, then the others. Failure to do so will result in no food for a week." he added with a hiss.
- "You must have the permission to the leave the camp by the leader or the deputy. Failure to do so will result in execution or," he added psychotically, "exile. Depending on what mood I'm in." he laughed coldly.
- "And finally, any cat planning to rebel, cause harm, or do anything against the clan leader, will result in immediate execution in the most painful and humiliating way.
- "Meeting dismissed." he meowed, jumped off the tree, and gathered his blood warriors for a private meeting. The other cats left in the clearing looked shocked and scared. The warrior code meant everything to them- it was the only thing they had left that was their before the take over- and now they couldn't follow it. Brindlepaw looked to his left and saw that Cloudpaw looked scared. He touched his nose to his shoulder, "Don't worry," he meowed gently, "we still have each other, and mom." he added. His mother was blankly staring at the tablet with round eyes. She saw him watching and padded over to him. Cloudpaw looked up, "Mom, does this mean were not a real clan, because we can't follow the warrior code?" he looked up at her with his brilliant blue gaze. She looked down with her blue and green one.
- "I don't know Cloudpaw," she rested her head on his side, "I just don't know."
- The other warriors were circled around the fresh-kill pile, looking down at something. Brindlepaw just got back from a training session with his new mentor, Oaktalon. He wasn't as laid back as Owlwing, and was much more stern. But he was much more sympathetic towards him. He shouldered his way through the growing crowd and looked down at the fresh kill pile to see what was their- or to see what wasn't there. There was nothing in the fresh-kill pile at all. All the blood warriors took it all. He heard a soft laugh behind him, and all the other warriors turned around sharply. Hazelstar was sitting with his tail wrapped neatly around his paws, while his mate, Violet, licked his side. Brindlepaw looked at his mother, she looked enraged at seeing her former mate being loved in front of her.
- He sighed, "If only it weren't for those ol' Darn rules," he laughed again, "Maybe you things could have eaten. Oh well." He laughed again, and he and Violet stalked off. The remaining cats looked enrage. Fur fluffed up, backs bristling, and teeth bared, they looked ready to pounce. But something interrupted them, a shrill scream from behind the nursery.
- Stormfeather was frantically trying to grab something in the river. A black furball was struggling to reach her paw.
- "My kit! Oh my kit! Someone please save Thornkit!"
- The Clan looked around with round eyes at the drowning kit. The blood warriors looked up from their prey-eating, and some of their warriors were racing to the river. Ashfall, the kits' father, was already at the bank. But Thornkit was already heading towards the mini-waterfall that lead to the lake.
- Thornkit was plunged under the waves. "Help me!" his cry came as a squeak as he hit a rock. Ashfall swam faster, but Thornkit was already at the waterfall. He was only a fox-length away from falling down the waterfall. But with the determination in his eyes, Ashfall gave a burst of speed, and swam faster. They were so close to falling.
- Ashfall put his jaws around his son's neck. But the next thing they have to do is fight the current. Ashfall, with another burst of speed, dug his claws into a low-lying branch on shore line. He pulled himself up on the beach, and coughed up loads of water. Thornkit was unconscious.
- Hazelstar padded quietly over to the river, with Violet racing over. Unlike Hazelstar, Violet looked concerned. He shouldered a small blood-warrior aside as he approached the surrounding cats. Stormflower was trying to comfort both her mate and her son, while her daughter Cinderkit looked on with round eyes.
- Hazelstar shouldered is way to the front of the group until he could make himself seen. Ashfall was recovering, and he started to sit up. Hazelstar approached him.
- "Come here." he flicked his tail to indicate for him to sit in front of him. Ashfall looked confused and cautiously crouched in front of him. Hazelstar sat and stared at him for a couple of seconds, with an expressionless gaze.
- Then it happened. Hazelstar slashed his claws at Ashfall's throat. Ashfall's eyes bulged and his breath was wheezy. Blood poured from the cut in his throat. From Brindlepaw's point of view, it didnt look too deep. The whole clan gasped and looked at Hazelstar, waiting fro an explanation.
- "I said, no one can leave the camp without permission from me!" he exclaimed. The whole clan looked furious. Ashfall just saved a kit from drowning!
- Brindlepaw looked at his mother and brother. They looked just as shocked as he.
- Something like anger was burning in his belly. He could feel the fire in his eyes. He looked around at his clanmates, and he could tell from the tension in the air that they felt the same way too. Then, a thought came to him. A thought that made him excited, but just as impossible.
- Hazelstar must be stopped...Permanently!
- "Are we almost there?" asked the voice of an impatient, but excited Aspenpaw. Brindlepaw flicked his tail in annoyance.
- "Yes, now keep your voice down!" he hissed. Something very important was going on. Ever since Hazelstar almost killed Ashfall five sunrises ago, Brindlepaw has been worried. And last night, he called out to all the apprentices, and some of the trustworthy warriors. But even then, Hazelstar proved to be more attentive then ever. This morning, he screeched for everyone to get up, way earlier than normal, all saw something everyone found inevitable.
- "Listen up," he meowed, "I want to appoint some new jobs. The Blood Warriors, the faithful, will now be guarding our territory, day and night, to stop any unwelcome guests from entering our territory....or leaving", he glanced dangerously at the "others".
- So tonight, Brindlepaw thought, he had to finally bring together his thoughts and share them with his fellow clanmates. But it wont be easy.
- Firstly, his idea was absolutely illegal and punishable by death. Second, the idea involved sneaking out of the camp, which was forbidden. Concerning sneaking out of camp, Brindlepaw didnt think it would be too hard too hard for the blood warriors to notice that half of the other warriors were missing in the dead of night.
- So, to get to the abandoned tree, they had to skirt around the patrol of blood warriors stationed randomly throughout the territory. With great difficulty, they finally managed to make it to the tree.
- There weren't many cats there, but that didnt surprise Brindlepaw (Too many cats were too afraid to break the rules). On the contrary, this was more than Brindlepaw expected.
- The first cat he saw was Leafwhisker, the sharp tongued tom who was known for his shrewdness. He seemed to have been impatiently waiting in the center. Next he saw Gorsefall, Heatherfrost, Sandpelt and Graypelt. His mother and his brother were already there, along with Aspenpaw.
- "Woah," Ravenpaw whispered
- "I know." Brindlepaw replied
- He jumped onto a low branch of the tree, and was going to start his speech, but was interrupted by some new cats.
- Immediately Leafwhisker jumped onto one of the cats. A fury of spitting and claws started.
- "Get off! Get off, you mouse-brain! It's me, Whiteclaw!" growled Whiteclaw. Immediately, Leafwhisker jumped off him and gave his chest a couple of embarrassed licks. Whiteclaw licked a cut on his shoulder, and behind him sat a cowering young tom who had his paws over his eyes- Pierre.
- "You!" Brindlepaw hissed in shock, "What are you doing here?" he glanced suspiciously at Whiteclaw, who was still glaring at Leafwhisker.
- "Keep your fur on, Brindlepaw. Pierre came straight to me, asking for help." he beckoned Pierre to speak.
- "I- I've been wanting to back out of Hazelstar's plans for moons. It sounded good at first." Pierre cleared his throat.
- "Here we were, us alley cats. We were starving. Its been like this since the earthquake. There hasnt been twolegs around for almost 4 generations now, which means we havent been able to get their food for almost 4 generations. We were at the point of- of civil war," His voice faultered for a second but he quickly regained it, "Lots of cats were dying. So many of us were fighting! This one night, I get to my den and find that m-m-my sister and her kit were killed," This time it took more than a heartbeat to calm Pierre. By the time he regained control, Brindlepaw was starting to worry about time, "But then, then Hazelstar suddenly appears. He brought so many mice, enough for all the alley cats! While we ate, he told us stories of life in the wild. This seemed to intrigue most of the cats, including me. There was just one thing- he said that the clan life was starting to spiral downhill because of bad leadership. He needed an army to overtake the cruel leadership of Fallowstar. But, what else can we do? Running freely through the forests, swimming in the rivers, and more prey that we could ever imagine!
- "We agreed, obviously, to train under his orders. He wanted three cats to accompany him to the lake to see what it was like. Three cats that never knew what life was like outside of the alleys, who needed a chance. He picked me, obviously. And he picked sly and evasive Luna- she can bend your mind to do whatever she wants! But once he picked Boothe, thats when I knew something was wrong. He was always a bully, stealing food from young mothers with kits and stuff...anyway, we got to the territory, he stopped us and told us something different. He said that he was important, he deserved leadership, and he told us he would do whatever it takes. He told us that he'd put us in special positions in the clan. Boothe and Luna agreed instantly. I? What else could I have done? He told me all his plans, and I knew from then on that he was dangerous, so he wouldnt have let me out of there alive if I said no.
- "After that, he had us meet with him regularly. To inform him of the army. I was scared. I was dealing with a cold blooded murderer, and I wanted out. So badly, in fact, that I was starting to rebel him. I even took a chance. It wasnt much, all I told him was that if he was sure about this and that there will be cats who would rebel. But his face, after I said it....I didn't speak unless I was spoken to again after that."
- Brindlepaw remembered that conversation, it was the day he almost drowned.
- "And now we're here. Please, I regret everything I have done. I regret ever talking to Hazelstar. Please forgive me." he looked up hopefully at the cat. They glanced at each other, and slowly nodded.
- "It's good too, you know, that we have someone one the inside." But the cats just looked curiously at Brindlepaw.
- He sighed, "Something has to be done about Hazelstar, as you all know. My idea is....is....I think we should......kill Hazelstar." a silence greeted his words. Then someone started to cackle.
- "Kill Hazelstar!" Leafwhisker laughed, "Your crazy!"
- Aspenpaw cuffed him around the ear and he fell silent. She gave Brindlepaw a supporting look.
- "Well its the only chance we've got." he meowed simply.
- "How would we do it?" asked Graypelt. He had expected the outspoken warrior to comment before this.
- "Well...I have this idea...It would work like this...."
- They were off. The Quest to kill Hazelstar had begun. Their first plan was already planned out, and all they needed to do was, well, do it.
- "Do you have it?" asked Aspenpaw. She wrinkled her nose as Brindlepaw stepped towards her. He was carrying a thrush that he caught 3 days ago, and in that time maggots and worms seemed to find their way in there.
- "Yes," he said with a muffled voice, "I just wish I didnt have to taste this disgusting thing."
- He walked over to the fresh kill pile and dropped it, hoping that the first cat to eat was-
- "Let all cats gather around sky tree for a clan meeting!" came the booming voice of Hazelstar. The Blood Warriors, who were as healthy as ever, padded out of their places and sat in the front of the meeting, while the gaunt "others" were left to sit uncomfortably in the back. Hazelstar grinned maniacally at the sight of this.
- "Oh," he said with a joyful tone, "I just wanted to say that I wanted to eat right now, and I invite my Blood Warriors to join me." He jumped down from the branch and sauntered over to the fresh kill pile. The bad thrush was still at the top. He narrowed his eyes as he studied it. Brindlepaw held his breathe.
- Finally, Hazelstar seemed to think that all was normal, and took the thrush. Brindlepaw sighed with relief, and turned towards his clanmates. Aspenpaw, Cloudpaw, and Ravenpaw all smiled in a congratulatory way, and as Leafwhisker walked by, he flicked his tail lightly on his shoulder, as to praise him.
- Brindlepaw glanced towards the tree, to see Hazelstar ripping apart the thrush with closed eyes, and an arrogant grin. He didn't even notice the maggots that were now exposed. Brindlepaw smiled with joy at this, and padded towards the apprentice den.
- The sound of groaning interrupted Brindlepaw's dream. He slowly lifted his head and looked out the den. No one else was woken by the noise.
- There was Hazelstar, jumping down from the tree in a fatigued way, and slowly heading towards the Medicine Cat den. Brindlepaw watched with joy and anger. He's such a coward! Brindlepaw thought, He doesnt want the clan to know he's weak and vulnerable, and has to wait at night to get treatment! But at the same time, he felt happy, But he's losing a life!
- Brindlepaw went back to sleep, and his dreams were very violent. He saw kits being taken away from their mothers, saw cats lined up in an orderly fashioned, and heard a fearsome screech that was followed by joyous screams. He woke up with a start, accidentally kicking Aspenpaw. She woke up too, and looked like she was going to growl, but as soon as she saw it was him,her gaze softened.
- "Look," she said, "Lets see what happened to Hazelstar!" she jumped out of her nest, and padded out of the den side by side with Brindlepaw. He felt even happier now.
- Outside of the den, they were met by Ravenpaw, who looked tired and battered. He looked like he was going to talked, but then noticed that Brindlepaw and Aspenpaw were very close to each other. The two quickly separated, and looked expectantly at Ravenpaw.
- "Oh." he said after a minuted, though he still looked suspicious, "I just had training with Hazelstar." he exhaled heavily. He didnt need to say anymore.
- "Why don't you got to the medicine cat den, Pinepaw could treat you there." Ravenpaw nodded and awkwardly padded towards the den.
- "I've been wanting to talk to you," Aspenpaw said after Ravenpaw left. They walked towards the center of the clearing, again side by side, sometimes their tales inter-twining, "About Hazelstar. Do you have anymore plans to get rid of him?"
- "Actually yes....."
- Brindlepaw and Aspenpaw padded over towards the medicine cat den. They had just finished discussing, in private, a way to have Hazelstar lose a life. Initially, Brindlepaw suggested that they should have Ravenpaw fight too hard in battle training, but Aspenpaw declined this. She said that it would be too hard for Ravenpaw to kill Hazelstar himself, and that he was being an "insensitive furball" after they saw how battered Ravenpaw was today.
- "Well, I'm so sorry," he said with mock attitude. Aspenpaw affectionately cuffed him around the ear.
- "But seriously," Aspenpaw's voice went back to normal, "We really need to find a way!" she stared off into the trees for a couple of minutes. Brindlepaw laid his head on her paws while they sat in silence. Brindlepaw looked up into Aspenpaw's face. Her eyes were still the same, but then they grew round and excited. She jumped up, making Brindlepaw yowl in shock. But Aspenpaw was unfazed.
- "Brindlepaw! Look at that bush!" She raced too a bush a couple of fox-lengths away. Its leaves were a light green, and its berries were black. He's never seen them before, but hes heard about them....
- "Nightshade!" he exlcaimed.
- "Yes!" Aspenpaw looked at him expectantly, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" she asked mischievously
- "Hey Thornkit!" Aspenpaw yelled. The kit looked up in surprise, and by the sight of an older cats, ducked his head in respect.
- "Yes?" he squeaked.
- "Give this to Hazelstar, but dont tell him its from me." She handed over the moss that was dipped in water that was contaminated with nightshade juice. He tentatively took it, and then scampered off towards Hazelstar.
- Brindlepaw was watching from the apprentice den, and Aspenpaw briskly joined him. Thornkit was slowly approaching Hazelstar, Boothe, and Pierre. As he approached, they turned to look at him. Thornkit ducked his head as he did to Aspenpaw
- "Water, for my leader, brought from the river." He said respectively, and continued with his head ducked. Boothe glanced at Hazelstar, and whispered something in his ear. Hazelstar nodded.
- "That was very kind, kit. But go to your mother, before she never sees you again." his voice had suddenly become harsh and he sounded very annoyed. Thornkit looked scared and ran off.
- "How rude!" a voice said from behind Brindlepaw. Cloudpaw came from behind and sat down next to him. Aspenpaw shushed him as Hazelstar began to drink. He lapped at the water, then immediately stopped. He began to cough, and shake. Suddenly, he fell to the floor and started to convulse.
- "LARKSONG!" Boothe screamed at the top of his lungs. Larksong ran out of her den, looking startled. Once she saw Hazelstar, she immediately stopped.
- "I...I-I....PINEPAW, get out here now! I need you!" But Pinepaw was no where to be seen. Boothe looked scared.
- "Do something!" he screamed in Larksong's face, who continued to look utterly bewildered. Hazelstar was now foaming at the mouth. The whole clan was outside now, looking at what was happening.
- He continued into his seizure, but his body became still, and an eerie silence filled the camp.
- The night following Hazelstars second death was very quite. The Blood Warriors were furious that he had died, and were taking their frustration out on the others. But the other warriors stuck to their dens to escape the Blood Warriors' cruelty. Brindlepaw and Aspenpaw were also in their den, along with all the other apprentices.
- "You know Brindlepaw," whispered Aspenpaw guiltily, "I think we made a mistake..."
- "What do you mean?" Brindlepaw exclaimed, "We just got rid of Hazelstar's 8th life!"
- "Well, thats great and all....But I'm starting to get worried about Thornkit. Hazelstars going to make the connection between drinking Thornkits water and losing a life! Hes going to kill him!"
- "Shhh!" exclaimed Cloudpaw.
- Outside the apprentice den were two blood warriors. They were just walking, but they paused in front of the apprentice den due to all the commotion. The five Apprentices stayed low and quiet. Once the Blood Warriors decided it was nothing and strolled away, they resumed their conversation.
- "What are we going t-" but Darkpaw's statement was cut off by a series of hacking coughs. Pinepaw came to his aid and started to examine him.
- Cloudpaw leaned in closer, "Should we hide Thornkit?" he whispered.
- But Brindlepaw just shook his head, "No, that would be too obvious. Plus we would have a lot of explaining to do if we were caught."
- There was a moments pause before Aspenpaw spoke.
- "...How about we just wait and see what happens tomorrow? If we see that Thornkit is in danger, then we could hide him. If he's safe, then we'll never mention this again. Agreed?"
- They agreed just as Pinepaw finished her examination.
- "You might have greencough. I suggest you go to the nursery." Her eyes were full of concern for her brother.
- "Im not going in there while he's in-" But again he was cut off.
- "Thats it!" Brindlepaw suddenly exclaimed, making the whole group jump, "Darkpaw could give Hazelstar greencough!"
- The group payed rapt attention as he announced his plans.
- "...it has to be during battle training, though, when a lot of other cats are around so you're not to much of a suspect. All you have to do is quitely cough on him. Come on," he pleaded as Darkpaw showed his unconfidence in this plan, "It'll be easy! Please." He prolonged the "please" as to sound innocent.
- Darkpaw just looked at his paws, before-
- "Oh, all right then. But I'll need plenty of sleep if Im going to do battle training tomorrow." Darkpaw huffed.
- The other cats agreed, and they all curled up in sleep. Brindlepaw could hardly sleep, though, due to tomorrows plan. He stayed up until past moonhigh just playing his plan over and over again in his head. Finally, he drifted off into sleep.
- But Ravenpaw coughed throughout the night.
- The following day, however, Hazelstar was nowhere to be seen. Cats were talking about him being in the Medicine cat den.
- Brindlepaw was expecting this, and automatically told Ravenpaw Plan B.
- "Just go to the medicine cat den and talk to him. But you have to breathe on him when you do." Ravenpaw made a weirded out face at this.
- "Ew, thats so creepy!" But when Brindlepaw gave him his look, he hurried over to the medicine cat den.
- "Don't make it too obvious though!" He yelled to his friend. Ravenpaw flicked his tail but said nothing.
- "What are you doing!?" A cat meowed deadly calm behind him.
- Brindlepaws fur spiked in horror. Oh no! We're caught! He turned around to face the speaker, but to his relief it was only his mother, Lilyflower. But then his heart raced again. He and Cloudpaw decided not to tell his mother about the assassination plot. Not because she would tell, but because she would become over protective.
- "Well?" Lilyflower gave him a sharp look.
- "I, umm...umm..." He stammered. To his enormous relief, Oaktalon came up to him.
- "Hey, we havent been training in a while. How about we go hunting?"
- "Sure!" Brindlepaw yelped, and sped off, leaving a very suspicious looking Lilyflower
- Brindlepaw walked back to camp by himself, as Oaktalon was called to camp by Leafwhisker. He carried to water voles in his mouth. Brindlepaw knew that these would go to the blood warriors, and was strongly tempted to poison them, but Aspenpaw, who also joined his hunt, convinced him not too.
- "Itd be way to suspicious, and we need to focus on killing one cat right now." She meowed with slitted eyes. Brindlepaw only half-heartedly agreed.
- They were just passing along the stream when they saw three Blood-Warriors returning for a patrol. Instinctively, Brindlepaw bristled, but Aspenpaw made his hair lie flat with a swish of her tail. The three cats noticed the apprentices, and made their way over to them, eyes sparkling malevolently and with satisfaction.
- "Oh no!" Aspenpaw whispered in fear, she was visibly shaking.
- "Just keep your cool and stand your ground." Brindlepaw whispered out of the corner of his mouth. He recognized the three cats as Sabretooth, a big and powerful tom, Pounce, a small she-cat, and Foxheart, a cat who used to be a regular warrior before the invasion, then switched sides to be a Blood-Warrior. Brindlepaw glared at them all with great dislike.
- "Well look who it is! The little apprentices! Are you two gowing on a wittle hunt to feed us?" sneered Foxheart. Sabretooth flicked his tail for silence. He stalked around the two apprentices with great agility. He stared right into their eyes with a sick sort of humor in his own.
- "Why are you looking at us with dislike? We're not going to hurt you." Sabretooth meowed with an obvious fake attempt at a sincere, innocent tone. He stopped in front of Aspenpaw.
- "...Besides," he meowed psychotically, while Aspenpaw was trembling with eyes closed, "I wouldnt lay a paw on this pretty little she-cat, now would I?" And he slowly licked the side of her face, from her chin to her ear.
- Brindlepaw eyes went deadly red. He felt a furious jealous frenzy going through his body, his ears were pounding with blood, and the sound of Foxhearts laughter were ringing them. With his fur spiked, his claws unsheathed, he made to lunge at Sabretooth. But his eyes were so blurred with hatred that he tackled Foxheart instead. He looked taken aback and staggered, his paws flailing in the air. Brindlepaw bit his neck and tore claw deep at his belly. As Foxheart yowled in pain, Brindlepaw was suddenly lifted into the air and thrown into the river. His head was under the water, with a firm pawhold on his neck, while his hindquarters were being slashed at.
- "No! Please stop! Get off him, Get off him!" Aspenpaw pleaded desperately.
- Brindlepaw was losing air; he couldnt breathe. Soon enough, he thought, he would die. He had to be under there for almost a minute. After all I've been through, he thought, I'm going to die like this?. Aspenpaws pleas were getting quieter and quieter, before-
- "Sabretooth, thats enough." A voice of the stars commanded.
- His head was immediately flung back to the surface. With an immense gasp, he flopped down hard in front of Aspenpaw. She immediately started to comfort him. She was still shaking, and her eyes were bloodshot. Brindlepaw groggily turned his head to see the voice, and to his surprise he saw Pounce and Sabretooth facing each other. Sabretooth looked just as shocked as Brindlepaw. It had just occured to him that he never heard Pounce talk, as she was the quietest of the Blood Warriors.
- She stared levelly at Sabretooth as he stammered, "P-Pounce?"
- Pounce, even though she was as small as Aspenpaw, only slightly dipper her head at him, before whisking around to Foxtooth. She nudged him up before the two made their way back to camp. Foxtooth gave Brindlepaw a look of pure hatred, and clumsily stalked off.
- Pounce, as she turned away, gave Brindlepaw a knowing look. And then, Brindlepaw heard something, in the same star-filled commanding voice in his head.
- Dont mention this to anyone.
- What?! Brindlepaw thought wildly, but Pounce was already gone.
- Now it was just them two and Sabretooth. He gave them a dangerous look before he, too, stalked off.
- The only thing that could be heard was the rush of the river and the rustle of the leaves.
- "Brindlepaw," Aspenpaw tentatively broke the silence, "What just happened?"
- "I'll tell you," he croaked groggily, "The Blood-Warriors now got the idea that they could beat up us real warriors."
- But thats not what he was thinking. His thoughts were on Pounce, on how he heard her voice in his head, and what had happened that made this seemingly unimportant Blood-Warrior one of the most important cats he will forever know.
- The sound of birds chirping woke Brindlepaw. He blinked his eyes open and sat up to wash himself. Aside him, Aspenpaw was stirring. Not wanting to wake her, he padded out of the den, still limping from his encounter with Sabretooth the previous day.
- He padded out of the den to greet Ravenpaw, who had a skinny crow stuffed I'm his mouth. As he was Hazelstar's apprentice, he was very skinny and his eyes were grayed with dullness.
- "How are you?" Brindlepaw asked.
- Ravenpaw sighed before answering, "I had to fight Hazelstar today, and no, I couldn't kill him." he added after he saw the flicker of excitement in Brindlepaw's eyes. Brindlepaw just shrugged and sat next to him.
- "I've been thinking," he meowed after a pause,"that we can start to talk to the other clans about Hazelstar tonight at the Gathering."
- Ravenpaw scoffed. "Yeah, right! First, Hazelstar will have to let us real warriors go to it. Second, we'd have to be super sneaky and out of earshot of the blood warriors, or we'd be killed. No Brindlepaw, I think this is something we have to do alone. All we can trust is our real clanmates, and no one else."
- Brindlepaw let out an awkward laugh, thinking of Pounce. He had yet to talk to her since the incident.
- He bid goodbye to Ravenpaw as he went towards the training arena, where he was to meet Oaktalon for battle training. On his way there, he glanced over to where Lilyflower was grooming Cloudpaw. A twinge of sadness went through his body, as he felt that he was the one who had to carry out the assassination plot, while his family had barely any worries. Without another glance at them, he entered the training area.
- "Everyone join under the Great Tree for a clan meeting now!" the sound of Hazelstar's command filled the campground.
- Brindlepaw got up with Aspenpaw and Cloudpaw to sit right under the tree, but as he was walking, a very prickly and big object hit Cloudpaw's head, causing him to stumble. Brindlepaw looked and saw Fuzz and Crusade laughing at them, and sitting next to them were a pile of pinecones. He gave them a glare as Cloudpaw started to whimper.
- "It's okay Cloudpaw, it's just a pinecone." he soothed. Just then, Cloudpaw's mate Darkspots padded over and continued to soothe him. Brindlepaw turned and sat with Aspenpaw, and looked up at Hazelstar.
- "I am feeling particularly nice today. Therefore, I will let the others join us at the Gathering. That is all." he jumped down from the tree and landed in front of Luna, Bone, and Pierre.
- "I want to speak to you three." he whispered suspiciously.
- Brindlepaw was just about to turn away, but as he was doing that, he caught Hazelstar's eye. It was the first time in weeks that he had made any type of contact with his father. The look he gave Brindlepaw was a mixture of hatred, evil amusement, and suspiciousness, as if Hazelstar knew that his son was up to no good.
- "Wait one moment," he said to Aspenpaw, and he quickly hurried to the outside of the bush where Hazelstar was.
- "...recall, I was complaining about the pair of Thunderclan apprentices who seemed to be gossiping about me. So, I have a plan. Tonight, if those two, or if any apprentices from Thunderclan apprentices are there, I want them killed."
- Brindlepaw could barely stifle the gasp of horror that came from his mouth.
- "Whatever you wish, Hazelstar," Luna said with her distinctive psychotic excitement in her eyes, "And if you would like, I will lure the two apprentices away into the dark, where they will be killed."
- "Thanks, Luna. You are very loyal and appreciated." Luna looked ready to burst with evil pride as Hazelstar and the others followed him out of the bush.
- Quickly and quietly, Brindlepaw prowled to the other apprentices, who were gathering near the entrance. Noticing the scared look in his eyes, Cloudpaw and Ravenpaw asked him if he was okay.
- "What's wrong Brindlepaw?" Cloudpaw asked, looking thoroughly concerned. Before he was given the chance to speak, Hazelstar interrupted him.
- "Riverclan, we are departing." And with the crazed determination in his eyes, Hazelstar lead them out of the camp and into the gathering.
- "So what you're saying is that we need to find the ThunderClan apprentices and hide them?" meowed Ravenpaw
- "Exactly. There's only four apprentices, but I don't know which two Hazelstar wants to kill." me owes Brindlepaw.
- The apprentices were two of only six other cats going. They were the last in the group, and were falling behind as the Blood Warriors were already reachin the shores of the island.
- Finally, they made it to the island. Immediately, Brindlepaw searched for the two ThunderClan cats in the masses of other clan cats, but to no avail. Ravenpaw came behind him and tapped his tail to his shoulder.
- "Come on, we'll look later. It'll seem suspicious if we don't listen to the reports." With that being said, they sat down.
- The whole time though, Brindlepaw had his mind on the lives of the ThunderClan apprentices. While the leaders opened the meeting, he spotted them through the throng of cats, sitting lazily in a group of three, next to a couple of WindClan apprentices. Brindlepaw did all he could to catch their eye during the meeting, but to no avail. The meeting was called to a close with a gesture from Hazelstar.
- "Mousedung!" he spat quietly. Ravenpaw came up behind him.
- "Brindlepaw, we need to act fast. The meeting's over, and I can't see Luna or Fallen anywhere." he meowed tersely. Suddenly, Ravenpaws eyes widened at a scene behind Brindlepaw. Quickly, Brindlepaw snapped his head to see what was going on behind him. He barely saw the wisp of a light-silver tail going through the bushes before he knew what was about to happen.
- Without trying to look suspicious, the two apprentices padded towards the bush where the cat disappeared to. Taking a quick glance behind him, Brindlepaw swiftly jumped behind it; Ravenpaw quickly followed suit.
- "Do you see them?" he asked Brindlepaw. He just nodded and sniffed the air, hoping to find a scent.
- "Wait a minute," Brindlepaw whispered. He pointed his tail in the direction of a large, splintered oak. Behind the oak, they could make out the faint shadows of five cats sitting; Two big shadows, and three small, vulnerable ones. A cold feeling of dread swept through Brindlepaw.
- "We're too late!" cried Ravenpaw softly.
- "No we're not!" Brindlepaw realized, "Quick, go back towards the gathering, there should still be some cats there. Tell them there's a fox on the island and you need help! Go, now!" Ravenpaw sprinted as quietly as he could while Brindlepaw crouched low and moved forward, hoping to get a closer look.
- Suddenly, the smell of warm blood flooded his nostrils. He almsot jumped back, but composed and forced himself to carry on to the potentially grisly sight. He was now crouched very low behind an ivy bush, with the group of five just visible in front of him. However, it wasn't a group of five anymore.
- A small, brown body was lying in a pool of blood. Brindlepaw could see a rapid rise and fall of the body, indicating that the apprentice was still alive. Fallen was crouched next to him, with his claws still in the apprentice's stomach. He focused his attention now to what Luna was saying to the apprentices.
- "...what happens when you insult the great leader? Do you know how hard he works for the benefit of all the clans, and for what? For lousy dirtbags like you two to insult his work? I should kill you like Fallen did with that other!" Luna screeched with a foaming mouth, which caused the two other she-apprentices to shrink back in greater fear.
- Despite the sheer terror Brindlepaw was feeling for himself and the apprentices, he had a flame of hope in his heart. It doesn't sound like Luna'll kill them after all. That's great, he thought, now once she lets them go, I'll find them and hide them for a while, until its safe for them to be back in the clans.
- But he underestimated Luna's bloodlust. In that split-second it took for him to formulate the plan, Luna had grabbed the bigger she-cat by the throat and flung her against the splintering oak; her body hit a jagged piece of bark with a slicing sound. His eyes closed, Brindlepaw heard a high-pitched wail of fear and pain cut short. He opened his eyes and the sight almost made him vomit. The apprentice's body had been impaled on the jagged piece of tree. Luna smirked psychotically; the smaller apprenticed whimpered in horror and pressed herself to the ground.
- "I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Please don't kill me! Please! I'll do anything!" she begged between gasping sobs. Luna simply stared down at her with a blank, un-pitying expression. She looked at Fallen, who was now licking the blood off of his talon-like claws. He nodded.
- They both got up and went towards the lake, they disappeared from view. Now was Brindlepaw's chance.
- "Run! Run! Leave, go now! Save yourself!" He whispered pleadingly. The apprentice flicked her ears and looked in his direction. They made a half a seconds eye-contact, and she was about to open her mouth when two massive bodies got in the way. He heard a thump, a squeal, and then another thump. Then the two blood warriors positioned themselves in an all too familiar way to Brindlepaw.
- "This is a trick I learned on how to deal with sub-species of cats like this." She looked down on the dazed apprentices. Then she let the rock drop.
- A thud, then a silence. There was a moment when the two looked triumphant. Then, without warning, they whisked away.
- He couldn't see. His eyes were blurry, his heart beating, and his blood pulsing thick. Brindlepaw had just witnessed the worst murder he has ever seen. Where is Ravenpaw he thought, Why couldn't he come sooner!
- He didn't remember how long he was crouched in the shade of the ivy bush, shivering from a mixture of cold and fear. All he could think about was how he and Ravenpaw were too late; they let Hazelstar win this battle.
- Suddenly, a very faint sound made Brindlepaw look up. He looked and saw that tom-cat was coughing. Coughing up blood.
- He sprang up and came to the aid of the brown apprentice. "I'm here, don't worry," he tried to sound soothing, but Brindlepaw knew deep in his heart that the tom wouldn't last for long. He did the only thing he thought was appropriate: He touched his paws gently to the tom's paws.
- "Help...me..." croaked the tom, in between gasps for air and and trying to breathe. Brindlepaw struggled not to show any panic, in fear that his panic would cause the tom to get worse.
- "Her...alive...save..." his last words faded into a whisper, and his eyes glazed over, never again to see the light of day.
- Brindlepaw stared down into his eyes. No....No! he thought pleadingly. He didn't deserve this. None of them did. He looked over to the other she-cats. He saw the impaled one and immediately looked away, and he caught the eye of the small she-cat, whose eyes showed all the pain and loss of one lover losing another.
- She's alive! He thought. Quickly, he released his paw from the tom's, and gently closed his eye-lids out of respect. Then, he raced over to the she-cat
- "You're alive!" he whispered. He looked down on her. Her faced looked just like his dead before the great Civil Battle, maybe even worse.
- "Please help me!" she yowled in a hushed sort of way, as if in fear her assailants would come back.
- "Don't worry, you're completely safe with me. Here, lean on me, I'll take you some place safe." He helped her onto her paws, something that took quite some time. I've been gone for ages, he worried, Hazelstar will know what I'm doing, and then he'll kill me. But at this point, he didn't care. He just wanted to make sure this she-cat was safe.
- Finally, he got her to place all her weight onto his shoulder, and he lead her off the island towards ShadowClan territory. On the way, he found out that her name was Fernpaw.
- "I'm going to take you to these big rocks, right near our border with ShadowClan, you'll be safe there." He whispered. Although it was the night of the gathering, he wouldn't put it past Hazelstar to put out deadly night patrols, especially since he must know that Brindlepaw was missing.
- "Are you not taking me back to ThunderClan?" She asked confusedly. He tried to avoid her eye.
- "Fernpaw...I don't know if you can go back anytime soon..." They stopped walking, with Fernpaw able to walk on her own by now.
- "Why not?" she asked, heartbroken. Although Brindlepaw never knew what it felt like to be an outcast, he somehow felt a strange connection.
- "Its complicated...listen, just know that Hazelstar will somehow find a way to kill you, because he wants to keep all his witnesses silent. So its best to just keep away from the clans for now..." he trailed off, hoping she'd understand.
- "But if Hazelstar's really as powerful as you say he is, how will he ever be stopped?" She asked.
- Brindlepaw flinched, for she had just spoke his own insecurities about his one-in-a-million shot plan.
- "He'll be stopped soon, don't worry" was all Brindlepaw could say to her. She bowed her head, and he realized that she accepted her temporary fate.
- Leaving her at the unknown, very old Twolegplace, he started to back away and turned around to go home.
- "Wait!" she yelled all of the suddenly. Brindlepaw turned around to stair at her.
- "Why are you telling me all of this about Hazelstar? Won't you be killed too?" She seemed genuinely concerned for him.
- Brindlepaw stared at her, blinked once, and turned around again, tail drooping and head looking towards the ground.
- Brindlepaw barely made it back to the camp unharmed. He had to avoid at least three patrols of blood-warriors, and skirt around the many little streams throughout the territory to make it to the unknown hidden entrance to the camp- unknown, at least, to the whole clan except Brindlepaw and Hazelstar, who used it to re-enter the camp after he killed his friend, Longclaw.
- He entered the camp at around mid-dawn, where the sun was already up, but cats were barely awaking.
- "Where have you been?" growled a voice behind him.
- Brindlepaw's heart almost stopped, and he was afraid to turn around, because he knew that he'd see the only other cat who knew about this entrance.
- Reluctantly, he turned around, and saw Pounce.
- "Oh," he relaxed, "It's you..." he trailed off, not knowing what to say to this mysterious she-cat.
- "Well?" she pressed on, staring intently at him.
- "Uh, well I was..." he trailed off under the intenese, maniacal stare that Pounce was giving him.
- "Do you have any idea what has been going on here at camp?" she whispered urgently.
- "What do you mean?" Brindlepaw shot back, "I've only been gone the night and this morning, what could happen in that short of time?"
- However, he noticed a genuine fear in her eyes.
- "You'd be surprised," she whispered, looking at her paws, "Hazelstar came back from the gathering in a rage. He ordered the blood warriors to attack us. Not kill, but attack. He wanted to cripple you all even more, make you suffer through the pain. And after the massacre, all he said was 'You all better prepare for tomorrow', and left."
- Brindlepaws mind was racing. Obviously Hazelstar was furious that he couldnt kill Fernpaw and he friends. But why would he want to kill them in the first place, he asked himself. All they were doing was gossiping with each other...unless Hazelstar was so paranoid, that he took their gossiping as spreading rumors of his ruthlessness to the other Clans, which might take action. Yes, Brindlepaw thought, that was it. But if Hazelstar was so paranoid that he would kill a couple of insignificant apprentices from ThunderClan, what was he capable of doing to his own Clan?
- "Come on," Pounce whispered, "follow me."
- Pounce led him into the camp, silently trailing the wall boundaries in the shadows of the sun which was almost rising.
- The first place that Brindlepaw headed for was the Apprentice den, where he hoped to see his brother and his friends. He entered the den, and saw that Cloudpaw was sleeping, with Darkspots and Pinepaw circled around him, as to protect him. He noticed that many of the cats in the den bore scars and wounds.
- "Oh thank StarClan youre alright!" the voice of Aspenpaw rang in his ears as he was smothered with licks. Brindlepaw winced as he noticed a gash on her ear.
- "What happened?" he asked, looking around at everyone.
- "Hazelstar happened, thats what." meowed a grumpy voice from somewhere farther in the den. Silence came after that, not only because the Blood Warriors could be listening and cause more harm, but because there wasnt anything else to say. Hazelstar being mentioned in any sentence makes one already know what to expect.
- Just then, the apprentices and Pounce heard Hazelstar from the outside:
- "All cats get out here now!" Hazelstar yowled at the top of his lungs.
- Everyone gave each other grave looks, this was it. Something terrible was gonna happen, and everyone knew that. Heads hanging and tails dragging, they forced themselves into the clearing. But before they could do that, the Blood Warriors were waiting for them by the entrance. The apprentices, already dejected and with no morale or strength, didnt even fight back when the Blood Warriors ordered them into lines, where they were to stand back straight and side-by-side.
- Wait a minute...I saw this! Brindlepaw exclaimed in his head, In my dream, after I was knocked out by Luna!
- His dream had come true. Every cat, including the kits, were lined up, all in rows, forced to look ahead at Hazelstar, who was pacing around, twitching and muttering to himself. He stopped, and stared at everyone with wide, bloodshot eyes.
- "You all think you're so smart, don't ya? I know exactly what you all are doing, you're all trying to kill me!"
- Brindlepaw couldnt look, but he was sure everyone else involved with his plan were feeling the exact same feeling of dread that he was experiencing.
- "Well that will never happen! NEVER!" he ended his sentence laughing crazily, "I dont care if you all end up dead, but I wont be! I'll never die at the paws of creatures like you!" he yelled again, and some birds flew out of the trees. Ravens, Brindlepaw noticed.
- "Frost, Fallen, Bullfrog, take them to the court." Hazelstar menacingly whispered. The statement was so vague as to who would be taken to the "court", that even Brindlepaw was slightly scared for who would be the first ones to disappear.
- "No! NO! Please, not my kit, not my kit!"
- The hair on the back of his neck stood up instantly. He knew the voice of his mother anywhere, who was now having a sharp paw shoved in her mouth to stifle her screams. Now all Brindlepaw could do was watch helplessly as Bullfrog dragged Cloudpaw away.
- Next, he saw Frost take away a struggling Leafwhisker. But he was no match for the abnormally strong pure-white she-cat. They, too, disappeared into the shadows of the entrance.
- Finally, Brindlepaw guessed who the next person would be.
- StarClan, please keep my mother and brother safe. And if you could, tell Aspenpaw that I love her.
- Fallen grabbed him and dragged him away into the entrance, where he would surely meet his death.
- But immediately after the entrance, he was thrown into a bushed area not to far away. It was dark, covered with trees that barely let in the morning sunlight. All was silent, only the sound of the three huddling cats breathing rapidly.
- Out of the corner of Brindlepaws eye, he saw them. Hazelstar, Luna, Boothe, Pierre, Sabretooth, and Lilyflower. All, except Pierre and Lilyflower, had hatred burning in their eyes. His mother was being dragged by her scruff.
- Forced to watch her kits die. Brindlepaw thought dejectedly.
- "Time," Hazelstar whispered raspily. The whisper echoed throughout the "court".
- "Time for you to die." For a second, Brindlepaws and Hazelstars eyes met. But this time, there was no second of mercy or remembrance that he was his father. All he saw was a burning hatred.
- Hazelstar flicked his tail, and Sabretooth and Boothe sprung towards them. Luna was forcing Lilyflower to watch, who was also loudly crying.
- This is it, Brindlepaw said in his mind, I'm sorry I failed you, StarClan. Brindlepaw curled into a ball, side by side with Cloudpaw, bracing for impact.
- "I love you Cloudpaw," Brindlepaw whispered.
- "I love you too, Brindlepaw," He whispered back. The two brothers edged closer together, waiting to die side by side.
- Suddenly, Brindlepaw heard the rustle of leaves, a might roar, and an extremely bright light. He looked up in shock, but thought he was gonna go blind. To him, everything was white and he couldnt hear.
- "Run!" a familiar voice urged.
- "What?!" He looked around, and saw a faint outline of a gray cat starting to appear from the brightness.
- "Brindlepaw, run, now! The brightness will only cover your escape for a couple more seconds, you must escape! Hurry!"
- "But what about Cloudpaw, or my mother, or Leafwhisker!?" He yelled back to the gray she-cat.
- "Save yourself! Hurry! RUN!" the she-cat disappeared, but the brightness was still there, but was fading quickly.
- Brindlepaw struggled, trying to look for his brother and mother, but he quickly realized that those efforts were futile. Everything was noticeably becoming less-bright, and he was almost able to see his would-be assailants.
- Giving up hope on ever seeing his family or Clan again, Brindlepaw took off running. He ran, and ran, and ran. He ran past the WindClan hills, and didnt stop running until he reach some mysterious pond. Finally, he collapsed under exhaustion.
- He was on his back, breathing heavily, staring up at the sun-setting sky. It was dark enough where he could see the stars.
- "StarClan," he croaked, as his throat was raspy and dry from running all day, "Please keep Cloudpaw and my Clan safe. Let them know that I tried, and I love them."
- A star twinkled down on Brindlepaw as he succumbed to his exhaustion.