A short tale about two best friends.
I wish I knew how to start.
(A cough, a head ducked to the side, but then I meet her piercing gaze.)
I mean, seriously, I’m nervous. Yeah, I’ll get on with it.
You know we’ve known each other for moons upon moons, seasons upon seasons… we were kits together, apprentices together, and we had our warrior ceremony together.
And through it all, we challenged one another. To do good, to follow the warrior code, to be the best cats we could be.
Do you remember when we were kits, and you wanted to sneak into the medicine den, but I was too afraid that we’d get caught by Falconleaf? You encouraged me to be brave, then. And yes, we got caught, and it was completely worth it.
(A whisker twitch. Another.)
Or do you remember when we were apprentices, and we were supposed to deliver a message to WindClan and ask for reinforcements? You were afraid to cross the border; you’d never done it before! But I encouraged you to do it because we absolutely have to or RiverClan would be demolished. And you crossed the border and we ran on.
And now that we’re warriors. Our apprentices have both turned into wonderful warriors… Rushtail is swift and quick-thinking, and Stoneclaw is powerful and brave.
We’ve done well with ourselves, haven’t we?
(She nods at me, her eyes are bright.)
StarClan has wished us well. They have given us both the lives of great warriors, strong ones. And we could both go far.
A wise elder once told me that good friends wish one other well. I do that for you. I wish you well, despite your eagerness to fight ShadowClan for the tiniest scrap of prey. You wish me well, despite my misgivings about certain things our leader has done.
And we have bright futures. So bright! We could rise through the ranks with no issue. One of us could become leader, the other deputy. Together, we would lead RiverClan and we would be prosperous.
(She dips her head.)
And Grassfoot has just passed of greencough. The Clan is still mourning for him; the vigil is happening at this very moment. We lost a great deputy today. May he find his place in StarClan.
We need to plan this, and we need to plan it now. One of us has to be deputy. We’re the only choices.
No, I won’t get off of this! Now is the only time! Troutstar is close to death. You know it, too.
(She looks angry. I ignore it.)
See, now, we have to go back and we have to wail the loudest. We have to throw ourselves at Grassfoot’s body and mourn. So the Clan doesn’t doubt our loyalty to him.
Then, when one of us is chosen, it doesn’t look like we’re power-hungry.
(She rises to her feet. I unsheathe my claws.)
Go and I’ll kill you.
(She runs. But I am faster. I have her by the neck in two heartbeats flat.)
Any last words?
(She struggles for breath.)
I thought not.
(I slit her throat.)
Now to explain to the Clan why my best friend since kithood died in ShadowClan territory, and how I will avenge her untimely death…