Two siblings, inseparable as kits, Briarwing and Moonfrost, face challenges only imaginable in the craziest dreams, and face decisions that could either save the clans or destroy them.
Two who share blood, one with the shadows and one with the light, will save the clans and destroy them with all their might. The only one to save them all and make wrong things right is one who isn't afraid to adventure into the night.
Stars glittered on the Moonpool’s surface, casting a luminous and ever so beautiful light on the green glasslands surrounding it. Echocry, a beautiful grey she-cat with glorious teal eyes, was here to receive her nine lives and become leader of ShadowClan, Echostar.
She shivered, her anxiety rising as questions filled her mind: What if I don’t get my nine lives? What if the Moonpool doesn’t work… What if….. Echocry thought, mind racing and her eyes sweeping over the luminous Moonpool. Frostfang, the old and wise medicine cat, whispered from behind her amongst the shadows, “Don’t be afraid.” Echocry nodded as he went on.
“I’ve done this twice before now. With Maplestar and Reedstar.” he rasped. “Everything will be fine.” Echocry nodded, eyes showing the smallest glimmer of hope amongst the swallowing darkness of fear and uncertainty. She nodded and hesitantly crouched, delicately touching the Moonpool’s starry surface with her pink nose.
“Wha..? I-I.. Is this StarClan?” She murmured, genuinely surprised. The land she were sent to was dark, gloomy, and murky. Nothing like the grey she-cat expected. She picked up a single front paw and turned it over.
It had murky dirt all over it, and was wet with rain from horrible storms. She flinched as she heard a yowl of a mysterious cat, who looked to be older than any elder than she’d seen. “Fight! Go for the neck! Snowtuft, can you do anything right!? Yellowfern, I told you to STOP! Go for the neck, be ruthless! We will take out the clans once and for all!” Echocry’s eyes widened with fear as she heard another yowl. A familiar one.
“Ugh, One Eye, you say you know how to take out those petty clans, but can we really do it when we train like cowards?” Echocry stared at the cat who said that. She was a glorious blue and white she-cat, and was unmistakably Rainkit, a kit in the nursery. But much, much older here.
Why was that? This must be a dream. The moonpool must not have worked…. This is a regular dream, no, a nightmare. But regular. This happens all the time! Right? She thought, trying to make an explanation for herself to hide her shock. She turned to see and hear more but quickly after she got a glimpse of a light brown she-cat with rose colored eyes, staring at her with interest, Echocry felt agony and pain, like sharp claws piercing her neck as darkness finally engulfed her.
“You’re lucky..” a feminine voice mumbled behind her. Echocry blinked rapidly as her vision cleared from being blurry. She gasped in surprise. “M-Maplestar!” she gasped. “Yes, my deputy, it is I.” Maplestar looked at Echocry, pleased. “I am proud to give you your first life.” She meowed. “This… this life is for endurance. Even in the toughest storms, the strongest fights, or the hardest choices, endure it all.” Maplestar pressed her black nose against Echocry’s delicate pink nose, and suddenly, a shiver went through Echocry’s gray pelt, as if a million ants crawled on her short-furred body. Echocry suddenly felt cold, and she shivered, when suddenly bursts of warmth spread throughout her entire body. Echocry relaxed, but not fully. Maplestar dipped her head and backed away to join the other Starclan cats. Echocry blinked at her, but Maplestar’s eyes were dark and longing, as if she knew something bad were to happen but couldn’t say anything. Echocry closed her eyes and breathed steadily, preparing herself for the next painful life to be given to her. When Echocry’s teal eyes were opened, she blinked in surprise and found herself unconsciously backing away. The cat in front of her smirked, his flame-red pelt and starry green eyes glowing. “F-F-Firestar!” Echocry stuttered. This was the legendary ThunderClan cat elders told her when she was just a kit! She gasped. Why would the legendary savior of SkyClan, let alone all of the clans, come to her, a ShadowClan cat? “I may be from ThunderClan, but I am here to give you a life.” Firestar said calmly and smoothly, as if he expected her to question him. Echocry nodded as she touched her nose to his. “This life is for courage. You will question your decisions time and time again, but have courage and know you are right.” he smiled softly just as Echocry was given her life. She felt like she was being electrocuted and shocked by lightning. Echocry bit her lip to stop herself from crying out in pain, and she stiffened. As Firestar pulled away, smiling and eyes glimmering, she relaxed, and felt as if every bone in her body was bruised. She let out a relieved sigh, and looked up as the next cat took Firestar’s place in the life-giving. “Havenstep!” she gasped. She looked up at the cream colored tom with orange-brown spots, eyes filled with affection. “I thought I’d never see you again!” she gasped. Havenstep nodded. “But I’m here.” he murmured. “I’m here. I have come to give you a life.” he breathed. He touched his nose to hers, his warm breath stirring with the cold and crisp night air. “This life is for love.” he whispered in her ear. “You must now love every Shadowclan warrior as you have once loved me.” Echocry nodded. She parted her jaws as if to reply, but a warm wave of burning anger flushed through her. She felt like she wanted to fight, for someone. Something. My clan. She wanted to lash out a paw at the nearest cat next to her to defend her clan, but she couldn’t move. As Havenstep parted from her, her body suddenly felt colder than ever. “Take care of our kits.” he murmured. She looked at his green eyes which glimmered with longing love, but turned to the next cat who just stood up to walk towards her. She looked at the slim, black she-cat, whiskers quivering, as the she-cat sat down in front of her. “My name is Shadowstar.” the she-cat whispered, her voice as quiet and smooth as the wind, her starry pelt so faint that Echocry could easily see the stars and trees of StarClan behind her. Echocry took one last sweeping gaze over Shadowstar’s pelt before dipping her head. When Echocry rose, Shadowstar touched her faint nose to Echocry’s. So faint that Echocy barely felt the soft nose up against her own. “This live is for strategy.” Shadowstar murmured. Echocry felt a ripple rise up her pelt. “Use it in tough times when you need to be smart. Make the best decisions not for just your clan, but all the clans around the lake.” Shadowstar whispered. As Shadowstar backed away, smiling, Echocry struggled to stand up. Fear pulsed through her pelt, fear as strong as any warrior. She winced, but soon she relaxed and her tail lowered as it faded, and was replaced by a sense of courage. As Echocry blinked open her eyes, which were clouded with the pain of having four lives to manage as well as her own original. Shadowstar was gone, but no cat so far had taken her place. Echocry narrowed her eyes, looked down, and gasped. She bit her lip to stop herself from sobbing. The tiny she-cat below was her kit, Dandelionkit. “Hey mama!” Dandelionkit’s cute mews made Echocry’s eyes start to water. “The big cats said I could give you a life, mama!” Dandelionkit squeaked. Echocry nodded and bent down to the tiny, starry kit could touch her nose. “This life is for thankfulness. Remember how lucky you are just to be alive. Never take advantage of it.” Echocry looked into Dandelionkit’s starry, yellow eyes. The kit had never gotten what she had deserved. She died young and painfully. Something Echocry would never forgive herself for. Suddenly, spasms of shock pulsed through Echocry’s mind, and she felt suddenly sad, guilty. She wanted to shred the monster on the Thunderpath that had taken her kits life, but she was unable to move and suddenly felt odd. As Dandelionkit backed away, Echocry’s muscles relaxed and she felt the shock fade away. She panted and struggled to breath for a while as the invisible claws that had torn at her pelt during Dandelionkit’s life ebb away. She was only so prepared when the next cat came up. She looked up at the she-cat and wanted to cry out and nuzzle her, but it was as if she were stuck in place from sticky treesap or honey. Thankfully, the she-cat walked over to Echocry, and bowed her head. Her white and gray form trembled as she gave Echocry a lick around the ears. “I have missed you, my dear sister.” she murmured. Echocry’s voice cracked as she responded. “I-I… Spotgleam… I… I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean to! I-” Echocry stuttered, but Spotgleam interrupted. “There is nothing to apologize for. It was fate for me to burn that day. There was nothing you could have done.” Spotgleam’s blue-green eyes glowed in the darkness as she pressed her nose against Echocry’s. “This-this life is for acceptance. You cannot spend every day being weighed down by guilt. Accept what has happened before as you cannot change it. Accept the choices of your clan and your cats.” she murmured. Suddenly, invisible fangs pierced Echocry’s chest and she flinched. She choked as she tried to breath, yet the fangs wouldn’t let her. Suddenly, the fangs let go, and Echocry collapsed onto the ground, panting and gasping for air, as Spotgleam backed away. Echocry panted and gasped for breath, making a horrible rasping sound as she struggled to get up. Eventually she did, but she still trembled and shook with fear. She looked up to see another cat already walking up to her. The cat dipped her head and murmured in Echocry’s ear. “My name is Tawnypelt, one of the cats of the past.” Echocry blinked. “I heard about you! When my mother was born you were the eldest elder of Shadowclan! You brought us to the lake!” Echocry meowed. Tawnypelt’s eyes gleamed with an emotion Echocry struggled to decode. Tawnypelt purred, “I’m happy I haven’t been forgotten yet. This life is for truth.” she touched Echocry’s nose lightly with her own. “I found my home with it, and you will find yours.” What does that mean? Echocry wanted to murmur aloud, and she would have if she hadn’t just been overwhelmed with pressure, weighing her down. Suddenly the pressure vanished and she felt like she was running, feeling the lovely wind in her pelt as she bolted through the forest. She opened her eyes to see Tawnypelt staring at her, eyes clouded as she backed away, tail lowered. Echocry looked at her paws. “There are no more Starclan cats…. Aren’t I supposed to get one more life?” she muttered. The Starclan cats looked at eachother worriedly, avoiding her gaze and Echocry could tell they knew something, and felt somewhat guilty for it. Echocry opened her jaws to ask what, when smoke filled the area. Echocry coughed and closed her eyes tightly shut. When the smoke cleared a white cat with black markings and a black tail stood in front of her. Echocry smelled the sour tang of blood on his teeth and pelt, and as he smoke his breath was so disgusting, Echocry had to force herself to not back away. “My name is Darktail.” the tom said. Echocry gasped and forced herself to reply even though the horrible smell made it hard not to gag. “I don’t want a life from you! You destroyed Shadowclan!” she hissed, tail lashing. Darktail grimly smiled and forced his nose upon Echocry’s. “You don’t get a choice. This is a cursed life. A cursed life for revenge. Never forget those who wronged you, and avenge them in cold blood. You have been wronged so you will wrong others.” he snarled. Suddenly, Echocry collapsed onto the ground, twitching as she fell unconcious. Her dream was painful, she was in a dark area, with nobody around. Blood soaked through her pelt and as she looked down, she saw a blood-soaked pelt below her. She gasped and looked at her paws, stained red with blood. She baced away, breathing hardly, whiskers trembling as she looked at the bloody corpse below her. She closed her eyes and the world went black.
Echocry gasped as she woke, and she shivered. She looked around, and seven starry cats looked at her, confused. Don’t they remember the life given to me by Darktail? She wondered. She was about to ask when the starry cats, now joined by others of Starclan, started to cheer her new name. “Echostar! Echostar! Echostar!” they cheered. Echostar wanted to ask them about Darktail, but she was woken up by a sound and jolted awake. She looked down at the moonpool and breathed. “That was beautiful. But-but DARKTAIL was there. Darktail! Is that normal? Should I be worried?” she looked towards Frostfang, the medicine cat who would know the answers to her many questions, and gasped. She looked at the limp, white body, and the clouded blue eyes beside her. She touched the red, soaked stones slightly and pulled away. She knew someone was missing at her naming ceremony. She knew someone wasn’t cheering her name when they should have been. And now she knew who and why. Frostfang hadn’t been there.
Because Frostfang was dead.
Briarkit stumbled from the nursery, blinking sleep from her rose colored eyes. She shook her light brown pelt and yawned. She spotted Moonkit, her sister, Starlingkit, Sparrowkit, and Thrushkit, the newer kits, playing. She tumbled along, wanting to play as well. She toddled along, almost tripping on a branch poking it's face out of the brown, moist dirt that was still wet from last night's rain. She looked down at the pine-needle dotted dirt below her and thought to herself, /I wonder what they're playing.../ she stumbled along again, and approached the four kits, smiling widely. "Heyya! Can I play?" Moonkit hesitantly stood forward. "Sorry sis, it's a four-player game, and we're in the middle of it. Sorry!" she mewed. Briarkit hung her head. "Okay then, I'll go and listen to Ashpaw and Heatherpaw and Yarrowpaw! They said they'd show me some real life Shadowclan Warrior moves when they get back!" she meowed. Moonkit nodded. "See ya, Briarkit!" she called out to Briarkit, who was scampering away towards the apprentices who were dropping their prey in the well stocked prey pile. Ashpaw was bragging about their Warrior Ceremony, rumor had it, that it would be today, as he dropped his rabbit in the prey pile. "Windclan never saw us coming! We took OUR rabbit and they left, beaten!" he bragged as Yarrowpaw dropped her squirrel and Heatherpaw added in her shrews. "I still can't believe those Windclan mange-pelts thought they could cross onto OUR territory and accuse us of stealing their lousy prey and get away with it!" Briarkit tilted her head. Had there been a border skirmish? As she studied Ashpaw, the fight wasn't nearly as easy as he had declared. He had blood matting his pelt, and a chunk of his ear was noticeably missing. He winced as he stepped forward. "Oh, hey Briarkit!" he chirped. "Wanna see those Warrior moves I promised?" Briarkit nodded. But before he could show her, the newer leader of the clan, Echostar, stepped forward. "Cats of the clans! Windclan is at it again! They have attacked and beaten our patrol." Ashpaw winced. Had Ashpaw /lied/? "We will attack them tonight!" yowled Echostar. "But first, we will send cats down to Snakerocks. There have been reports of Thunderclan scent there, even though it is now OUR territory. Thank you Ashpaw, well spotted. You will go down with... Turqouisefur and... Turtletrout." she said. Ashpaw nodded, casting a sideways glance at Briarkit as she gasped. Her parents? Both? Don't mothers live in the nursery till their kits are apprenticed? She shook her head. She had to trust Echostar.
To be continued...