|Preceded by: |
|The Rising Star||Succeded by: |
This is Season 1 Episode 2 "The Rising Star" of Unstable Times, song featured is Again, cover by AmaLee.
Enjoy, read, and comment :)
The Rising Star
I had a purpose then, pursuing the path to catalyze our dream
but it's a winding road
where you stumble and sway your way amongst the crowd.
Snowfire had taken her place in the leader tree, it still felt odd. Her father tended to sleep here when he needed time alone, Jaystar often slept in the warriors den when he didn't need to be alone. Snowfire looked out of the small compartment in the tree, and could see the cats below. Most of them were expecting her to go with Vinespeck to the moon pond, but she had put it off for as long as possible.
I can't avoid it anymore though, these cats need a leader, as much as I don't want this. She thought grimly, and sighed.
She jumped out and down the tree to meet the cats waiting for her, she flicked her tail in confusion. Riverflight said, "We need patrols, Leafwind's kits are almost ready to be apprenticed, Snowstar."
"It's still Snowfire, Riverflight, I haven't even gotten my nine lives yet." Snowfire mewed quickly, I'm not sure how I like cats calling me Snowstar. I like my warrior name, I literally just got it. She thought nervously, the cats looked at each-other in confusion, and one tom asked, "You... Are going to get them, right?" He asked.
Snowfire resisted the urge to roll her eyes, she saw Vinespeck sitting by the medicine cat den expectantly, and she sighed, "Yes, stop bugging me about it, it makes me nervous enough as it is," she ordered, "Look, Riverflight, take a border patrol around Shadowclan and Windclan, Hawkflight," she said to the tom, who looked up, "Take a couple of the apprentices and go hunting, the prey pile won't last us through the winter at this rate." Snowfire said quickly.
Both warriors retreated, and she finally walked up to Vinespeck, "Let's get this over with, it's getting tiring having all the older warriors on my case about something or another." Snowfire said quickly.
Vinespeck nodded, and was about to lead Snowfire out of the den, but Leafwind ran up to them, "Wait, Vinespeck, I need to speak with Snowfire privately." She called.
Snowfire looked at Leafwind gratefully, while Vinespeck flicked her tail, and walked out of the camp. Snowfire asked, "What is it?"
"You don't have to do this, you know, they're just turning to you because your father was leader before you." Leafwind explained.
Snowfire asked, "Then who will do it? Everyone else seems too afraid, it's kind of getting forced upon me, I'm the only one who's at least willing to try." She pointed out.
Leafwind looked up at the stars, "Your father or Hawkfeather would want you doing this for the right reasons though. That was the same trouble with Darkstar, the leader of Shadowclan, it was forced upon him after the death of Gorsestar, who picked Darkstar at the last minute, you need to be doing this for the right reasons, or you'll take the same path he did." She said quickly.
Snowfire frowned inwardly, and she bowed, "If I don't do this, Thunderclan will cease to exist." She pointed out gently.
Leafwind seemed to consider this, and she pointed out, "It's true, Thunderclan with no leader would soon break apart, but don't do it because you're being forced into it, don't do it because your father did it, do the right thing."
Snowfire watched her walk away, Isn't this the right thing to do though? She thought quietly, and finally went to catch up with Vinespeck. She asked, "Are you ready, Snowfire?"
"Ready as I'll ever be." Snowfire reported, then followed Vinespeck to the moonpond. As an apprentice, Snowfire always wondered what went down on the hallowed ground of Starclan, but it's been a while since any medicine cats convened there to speak with Starclan. They finally reached the river that seperated them from Windclan, and walked up the river to the pond.
Snowfire widened her eyes when she reached the pond, it sparkled in the sunlight through the roof of the cave, she felt her fur spike up her back, and Vinespeck laughed, "It's a natural reaction to be nervous here, but this is the only place we could ever freely communicate with Starclan, this is where you'll get your nine lives."
Snowfire looked around, and asked, "What am I supposed to do?"
Vinespeck flicked her tail, and mewed, "Touch your nose to the water, and allow your spirit to go free, Starclan will call to you."
Snowfire raised an eye-brow, and walked up to the water. She looked into it, but only saw her reflection, her snow white fur was fluffed up against the cold, while her black tufted ear tips flicked every which way. Snowfire sighed, and finally touched her nose to the pond, she closed her eyes, and waited.
She finally opened her eyes, and saw Starclan, it felt weird, many cats from her life that had passed surrounded her, including her father and Hawkfeather.
Snowfire looked around at them, and started laughing nervously. She blinked when her mother, Owlflight, walked up to her, she couldn't remember much about the she-cat, but she had soft brown fur with white paw pads, she mewed, "It's finally nice to see you, Snowfire, I watched you grow up from Starclan."
Snowfire leaned forward so Owlflight could give the first life, "With this life, I give you justice. I hope you will carry it's true meaning with you, as all cats of all the clans have something to face, to accept the past mistakes." She murmured, and padded back.
Snowfire felt her tears well up when her best friend walked up to her, he mewed, "I wish I could be down there with you, Snowfire, but I'll give you something for it," Snowfire closed her eyes as he continued, "With this life, I give you resilience, you, and all cats, will need it in the dark times ahead."
Snowfire watched him leave, and she frowned, the next lives were no better as she watched cats from her life fade away, truth, wisdom, grace, and duty. Finally, Jaystar walked up to her, and he murmured, "With this life, I give you confidence, I can sense that you feel that you're not ready to be leader, and to be honest, not a lot of us are, but I believe in you, all of us do, and I hope that you have the confidence to do the right thing."
She watched him walk away, and finally Hawkfeather walked up to her, his tail flicking joyfully, she finally relaxed, and he said, "Like Jaystar said, I concour, none of us are ready, we can only face the challenge ahead with our heads held high, so," Snowfire closed her eyes, "With this life, I give you hope, so you and all the clans, can have hope, even if the darkness has no light." He mewed.
Snowfire opened her eyes, and watched the cats disappear as they called her new name, "Snowstar! Snowstar!"
She jerked up, and looked around, she was at the moonpond again, where Vinespeck was waiting patiently.
"So, do you have your nine lives?" Vinespeck asked.
Snowfire frowned, and nodded, "Yes, but... For a little while, I'd prefer it if I kept my warrior name." She said quickly. Vinespeck only nodded, and led the way out of the cave.
Snowfire breathed a sigh of relief, and finally made her way home with Vinespeck.
Don't get me wrong, I would never go back in time or play god
but is there a way I could earn back that endless sky?
I can see it in your eyes, don't give me that look
You're the last person I need to pity me
Crying won't pave a way to forgiveness
Every sin you carve is everlasting
Ashpaw still felt nervous about today, Fogheart had told him he had something special in mind for the young apprentice, I'm not sure how I feel about this, what if he gets me lost and I won't be able to go back home? He thought quietly, and blinked when Fogheart called to him, "Ashpaw, pay attention, this isn't going to take long."
Ashpaw flicked his tail, and followed Fogheart out into the territory once again, a couple days of hunting and fighting techniques were drilled into Ashpaw's head to the point that his friend Rainpaw found herself with her face in the dirt when she surprised Ashpaw while he was eating. Fogheart assured him that she probably deserved it.
Ashpaw flicked his tail, and began to watch the tree's change from neverchanging pines to always changing leaves. He asked, "Isn't this Thunderclan territory?"
"Patience, Ashpaw, I just want you to meet a couple cats," Fogheart muttered, and walked past a puddle, Ashpaw jumped into it purposefully, and shook the water out of his paws as he started to follow Fogheart again, he only rolled his eyes, "We don't have time to mess around, Ashpaw."
Ashpaw frowned, and his tail dropped, they crossed into Thunderclan territory without any resistence, just as Fogheart had said. They stopped underneath a willow, and Fogheart waited. Ashpaw sat down as well, trying not to get distracted by the wind rustling the willow leaves, it was hard to resist the temptation though, Fogheart was usually all work and no play.
Ashpaw blinked when another foresty scent met his nostrils, he bristled when a tabby tom walked up to them calmly, but Fogheart growled, "Ashpaw, relax, he's friendly."
He relaxed, and watched the tom curiously, Fogheart nodded to him, "So, any news?" He asked.
"Thunderclan finally chose a leader, her name is Snowfire, hard to miss, next time there's a gathering, you'll know her when you see her." The tom reported, Ashpaw flicked his ear curiously, Snowfire? That's a contradiction, I haven't seen snow in fire, or fire in snow? He thought absentmindedly. Fogheart called him again, "Ashpaw, are you listening?"
"Yes!" He said in surprise, the other tom narrowed his eyes, and Fogheart muttered, "You are to not tell anyone of this, understood?"
"Yes," Ashpaw said quietly, and they both watched as the tabby tom left into the forest. Ashpaw asked, "Who was that?"
Fogheart looked down at him, "Does it matter? You'll learn eventually, best to keep you on a need to know basis for now," He grumbled, and flicked his tail for Ashpaw to follow him. As they walked through the marshy pine forest, Fogheart muttered, "Go hunting, you seem kind of distracted, and the snows are coming."
Ashpaw watched his mentor leave, he breathed a sigh of relief, and finally relaxed. He sniffed the air, and smelt a couple frogs and birds. He stuck out his tongue, and thought quietly, I never had a taste for frog, too slimy. He swivelled his ears around when there was a rustle in the bushes, he turned around, and asked, "Hello?"
He walked up to the bush, but only a hawk flew out of it, he watched it fly into the grey sky, and he said, "Huh, that would have been a story to tell if I caught it," He mused, and laughed to himself, "Then again, it probably would have flown off with me."
Ashpaw froze when there was a weird shiver crawling down his back. He turned back, but there was nothing. He shook his head, and scented the air again, he finally chose to hunt frogs for his other clanmates, while choosing the odd vole or bird for the cats like him who didn't like slimy frogs.
Ashpaw was unaware of the hawk landing in one of the dotted leaf trees, and it watched him carefully.
I’m lost in this maze of emotion
Who am I waiting for?
All this time, I’ve been trying to run away from my own reality
We’ll live for something as soon as we find it
"Ravenwing, you've been acting odd recently, what's wrong?" Ivyblossom broke Ravenwing out of his daily daydream.
Ravenwing sighed, "Daydreaming, listen, does Sootstar know who he's taking to the gathering? Probably the best warriors, I'm sure the other clans are still sore about the war." He asked all of this quickly, and Iyblossom seemed to be processing his questions rather slowly.
She took a breath, and finally answered, "Yes, yes, and yes," she took another breath, "Sootstar is taking the best warriors for protection, the clans are still sore about the war, although Thunderclan is pretty much a ruin, I don't think there's anything left of them to be sore about things." Ivyblossom explained.
Ravenwing was only an apprentice when the war happened, so was Sootstar, their leader managed to live to a ripe old age, with Sootstar as his deputy near the end of his life. Sootstar came back that night as a fully fledged leader, and it seemed to agree with him, he was merciful and just, unlike the other three clans where their leaders have some form of paranoia or nervousy towards each-other, Sootstar seemed welcoming.
Ravenwing joked, "Gathering's aren't my thing anyways, I remember beating the dung out of this one Shadowclan cat, he's probably still around, don't want to start another war over sore tails."
Ivyblossom laughed, and she said, "I'm sure Sootstar has considered that, but he told me to tell you that he wants you to go on another hunting run, we need to be stocked up for winter and we have a lot of mouths to feed, Nightpaw was telling me that you've told her that you showed her everything you know, think you're going to talk to Sootstar about making her a warrior?" She asked.
Ravenwing nodded, "Yeah, well, I'm going to go get hunting, those rabbit's won't beat me this time, trust me." He laughed, and ran out of the camp, and into the fields, he loved the wind as he ran across the expanse of land. He was one of Windclan's best hunters, he felt like he was the wind itself whenever he was hunting.
He sniffed the air as he ran, and he scented rabbit, he laughed, and murmured, "Not this time you little rabbit."
He chased it every which way, and he finally leaped, stopping just inches from the Riverclan border, he killed it swiftly, and bowed his head, "Thank you Starclan for the meal." He whispered.
"Nice catch." A voice called from the other side of the border.
Ravenwing blinked, and looked up, Silvershade was flicking her tail, he asked, "Were you waiting to see if I would cross the border again so you could just make me lose another one?"
Silvershade laughed, "I probably have better things to do then ruin your daily lunch race."
Ravenwing looked at her with mock offense, "I'm a Windclan, things are expected of me, fish warrior." He pointed out, and flicked his tail back and forth. Silvershade rolled her eyes, he watched as she walked up to the nearby river, and sat herself near it, she stood completely still, her paw hovering above the water, ready to strike. He blinked when she hooked a fish, and threw it a bit aways from the shore.
Silvershade picked up the fish, and walked up to him with it. She placed it right on the border, and she said calmly, "You shouldn't knock something unless you try it."
Ravenwing laughed, "Sweets, I don't think fish would agree with me."
Silvershade poked the fish, and looked at him expectantly, and he sighed, "Although, my mom said I shouldn't turn up my nose from a meal."
Silvershade backed up from the Windclan border as he grabbed a bite of it, he stuck out his tongue, and he pointed out, "Not as slimy as I thought it would be, but definately scaly, don't think I like that bit."
"The scales are the best part for some Riverclan cats," she shrugged, "You're right though, scales aren't really my thing either."
Ravenwing joked, "At least we have that one thing in common," he stood up and stretched, he asked, "What're you doing sulking around the Windclan border, hoping to yoink a stray rabbit?"
Silvershade looked up at that, "I've been getting the Windclan border patrols mostly, besides, this place is peaceful, smells like mist because of the water and wind," She said calmly, Ravenwing stared at her, and she asked, "What? It's true."
"No, it's just refreshing to see another cat that isn't Windclan, this is going to be the first gathering in a while." Ravenwing said meekly, his tail flicking side to side.
She seemed to smile, and pointed out, "Well, I usually hang around this place if you need someone else to talk to." Silvershade flicked her tail, and disappeared into the reeds, taking the fish with her. Ravenwing picked up the rabbit, and snorted in surprise, That was something, wait... Ravenwing felt himself go hot from head to toe, and he shook himself, Did she just offer to meet up here? Huh.
He caught a couple more rabbits on his way back, and he saw Sootstar chatting up one of the queens, Ravenwing dropped the rabbits onto the prey pile, and he coughed to get Sootstar's attention.
"What's up?" Sootstar asked.
"I think Nightpaw is ready, I had her assesment yesterday, she did great." Ravenwing pointed out. Sootstar laughed.
"I'd expect no less from you, Ravenwing, by the way, you coming to the gathering?" He asked. Ravenwing shrugged, and nodded. Sootstar nodded as well, and he murmured, "All right, I'll make her a warrior, and she can go to the gathering as one too."
"Nice, Sooty." Ravenwing laughed, and watched as Sootstar called a clan meeting, Ravenwing sat up front, Sootstar began, "Nightpaw! Step forward." Ravenwing saw Nightpaw give him a look of surprise, he nodded, and she stepped up.
"Nightpaw, from this moment on, you'll be known as Nightshade, Ravenwing taught you many things, we both think you're ready for this." Sootstar called, Nightshade bowed at both Sootstar and her previous mentor, Ravenwing shrugged it off though. He would be getting another apprentice to train soon enough. The meeting was adjourned, and Ravenwing could only think of the next time he might see Silvershade, whether at the gathering or the place she pointed out.
I’ve forgotten, please remind me, as day turns darkness
Expired chances - but we gotta make it through again
"You look exhausted Silvershade, did you spend all day watching the Windclan border?" Sandsplash asked. Silvershade nodded.
"Yeah, nothing even interesting over there, I did catch a fish though, but Sparrowstar let me have it for the all day border patrol." Silvershade pointed out quickly.
Sandsplash streched beside her, and she asked, "You going to the gathering? Sparrowstar doesn't seem to care who goes."
Silvershade brushed that off, and she pointed out, "He probably does care, he probably doesn't even want to go, but this day was agreed since winter was coming, I guess he's only going to get the measure of the other clans since the war, wants to know what he's up against," she took a breath, "I'm going too, obviously, I want to see who's who, since Jaystar and Hawkfeather's death's, the gathering is probably going to be very dull." She explained sadly.
Sandsplash nodded, "Shadowclan is probably going to deny any part of their deaths, is Thunderclan even organized enough to come?" She asked.
Silvershade shrugged, "To be honest, I don't know, haven't seen a Thunderclan cat in a while." She pointed out.
"I'm surprised they didn't all die in that fight," Sandsplash muttered, and looked back at the remnants of Riverclan, "Sparrowstar fought with Darkstar in that fight, I think he's starting to regret it, him and Jaystar were on good terms, even if he was less so with the last Thunderclan leader."
"It was all just a free for all at that point, none of us were walking away unscathed, Windclan was the lucky clan, they still retained some sort of dignity." Silvershade grumbled, and thought of Ravenwing, the easygoing tom acted like he had nothing bad happen to him, Silvershade doubted that act though, even if he was very good at it.
Sandsplash said nothing as Sparrowstar walked up, "Did you she-cats get enough fish for the day? We got to be ready before the river freezes over." He pointed out.
Silvershade nodded, and watched him walk away without another word, she murmured, "I doubt he's going to trust me with another apprentice."
Sandsplash pointed out, "What happened to Blackpaw wasn't your fault, he knows that better than anybody."
She said nothing to that, and only watched the moon raise into the sky, she murmured, "We don't have a lot of queens and kits, many of the kits probably won't make it through the winter if we don't get the medicine cat catmint, Sparrowstar will probably want us to go to the twoleg place soon enough to stock up."
Sandsplash flicked her tail in alarm, "Oh, mouse dung! That's what Sparrowstar wanted me to do! I totally forgot! Thanks Silvershade!" Silvershade gaped as her friend bounded away into the reeds, she blinked, and laughed. Her thoughts drifted towards Ravenwing, and she thought sadly, Even though you and him aren't the same cat, It's hard not to see you within him, my greatest failure. I'm not going to make the same mistakes...
It's so nostalgic...
Maybe all the love is worth the pain.