This Book Has Been Adopted By Texaswild


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I will write a new chapter each wensday.


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This page contains a fan fiction written by Red and Texaswild.
This page contains the opinions of the original author(s), and is not patrolled for factual accuracy.
Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
Responses, comments & other feedback should be made on the comments section below.


As the snow falls and amber light permeates the sky, dew shall rise.

Chapter One - Amber

I curl up next to my mother, with Snowkit and Dewkit beside me. It has been a tiring day, and all of us our exhaused. Cloudtail came to visit us, remarking with pride about how well we were coping with the stress of the recent attack.

Two moons ago, the Clans beside the lake were attacked by vicious cats from the Dark Forest, who no longer have any sense of the warrior code, and care nothing about killing. Lilykit and Seedkit told me that one of their flaws is their confidence: because they're already dead, they know they can't be killed, but they can kill us, the living. Our Clan knows that all too well.

We lost four cats in the battle, Hollyleaf, Ferncloud, Mousefur, and our own leader, Firestar. Firestar wasn't killed in the battle, no, he was killed afterwards by a falling tree branch. His death would have been quick and painless, Seedkit explained. She and her sister know a lot more about ThunderClan than we do, having been around for three and a half moons. They're half-way to apprenticeship.

It seems like moments later that Dewkit prods me awake, and gestures to Snowkit. He's already halfway out the nursery, making his way to the elders' den. We quickly hop out of Brightheart's nest, and scurry after him.

The den is empty save for Purdy, a plump tabby tom with a graying muzzle. Seedkit and Lilykit say that he used to be a loner, long before they were born, and then Firestar, the previous leader, accepted him into the Clan, especially after Purdy saved the lives of two of Firestar's grandkits, Lionblaze and Jayfeather.

"Purdy!" chirps Snowkit. "Can you tell us the story about the fox?"

"Molepaw said that was his favorite!"

"Did he now?" Purdy purrs.

"No, tell us about Hollyleaf!" protests Dewkit. "I like that one."

"What do you think, young'un?" Purdy asks me.

"I like the one where you rescued Lionblaze, Jayfeather, and the WindClan cat from the dogs," I say quietly.

Purdy chortles. "Oh, I love that one too. Now, since your sister's the she-cat, we'll go with what she wants." Snowkit pouts, but Dewkit looks happy nonetheless. "Now, we were padding away, I was with Bramblestar and Squirrelflight, an' Crow-what's-his-name, and Stormfur and Brook, and two cats named Night and Talon, who now live in the Tribe of Rushing Water, an' Tawnypelt, and then, all of a sudden, I hear something, and I turn around, and none of the apprentices are with us! So I backtrack, spot the barn, smell the mice, and think 'Huh. Those mouse-brained young'uns are probably off to catch some prey! After their father told them not to! Good thing they know about--' And that's when I realized that they didn't know about the dogs, yappity things, and I could hear a shriek right then and there, and knew that it was up ter me to go save 'em. An' so I did. When I get there that Breezepaw-what's-his-face--"

"Breezepelt?" interrupts Snowkit. Purdy nods.

"Breezepelt, then Breezepaw, he's cradling his tail which is ragged and bleeding, but I tell them that if they want to keep their whole selves, they had better get their whiskers up to this stack of hay in the barn loft, otherwise the dogs are gonna eat them whole!"

We all gasp at this point. "Who'd they get?" whispers Dewkit.

"No one," replies Purdy. "I saved 'em all."

I mew in approval. "Good job, Purdy! No wonder Brambleclaw offered you a place in ThunderClan, you're brave!"

"Aw, it was nothin'. Ol'...ol' Mousefur was....braver." Purdy sniffs, and turns away, wiping his face on his moss. Dewkit, Snowkit, and I exchange a glance. Mousefur had died in the Great Battle, as we began to call it, and we all knew Purdy really cared about Mousefur, just as Longtail, an elder who had died moons ago, when Millie's kits were just apprentices, did. Mousefur knew she was lucky to have so many cats who cared about her.

"It's all right, Purdy," I say consolingly, and Purdy looks at me with tearful eyes. "When you go to StarClan, Mousefur will be there for you. And she's with Longtail anyhow."

"Longtail," sighs Purdy. "Great cat."

"We know," Dewkit mews solemnly. "I think we should be going now. Thank you for the story, Purdy. We'll visit you again sometime!"

"All cats old enough to catch their own fresh-kill please gather here for a Clan meeting!" Bramblestar's yowl jerks us out of our sad silence, and we jump, turning. Bramblestar's powerful shoulders are silhouetted against the sunny sky, and the cats in the camp pad towards him.

Brightheart emerges from the nursery, with Daisy on her paws and Sorreltail close behind. Lilykit and Seedkit sit just outside the nursery, and so we creep towards them.

"We can't catch our own prey," whispers Dewkit. "We shouldn't be here!"

Bramblestar begins to talk. "It doesn't matter," Seedkit hisses. "He doesn't see us!"

"Shh," I hush. "We came here to listen, not chatter!"

Sorreltail turns around and gives us a look, which quiet her own kits into furious silence.

"Graystripe, Dustpelt, is it your wish to give up the name of a warrior and go and join the elders?"

Both toms are clear as they reply, "It is."

"Your Clan honors you and all of the service you have given us. I call upon StarClan to give you many moons of rest."

"Graystripe! Dustpelt! Graystripe! Dustpelt!" chants the Clan.

"There's plenty of room," croaks Purdy, and the two senior warriors, now elders, pad solemnly after him.

"I wonder why Sandstorm didn't retire," murmurs Snowkit.

"None of our business," I reply. "It's her decision!"

"I suppose you're right," Snowkit mutters.

Lilykit and Seedkit smile at me before we all enter the nursery, and, one-by-one fall asleep in the sunhigh sunshine.

Chapter Two - Snow

"I want Mousewhisker to be my mentor," I boast, staring at the gray and white warrior.

"Well, I am fine with any mentor," Amberkit says. "Because they're all great warriors!"

"I want Jayfeather," Dewkit says quietly.

"But he's a medicine cat!" I say incredulously. "Don't you want to be a warrior?"

Dewkit shakes his head. "I want to heal, not hurt!"

"Huh."

"But you won't get to have kits," protests Amberkit. "Don't you want to help the Clan grow?"

"I do," insists Dewkit. "And I can do that by repairing them. So they can grow the future generations of the Clan. I want to be a medicine cat!"

"Deciding already?" purrs Brightheart, padding up to us.

"We want to be warriors," I chirp, gesturing to Amberkit and myself. "But Dewkit wants to be a medicine cat!"

"If Jayfeather accepts me," adds Dewkit.

"That's perfectly all right," Brightheart mews. "Now, you three, there's a Gathering tonight, and--"

"We'll get to go?" I ask excitedly. "Are we going to be made apprentices?"

"No," chuckles our mother. "You still have three more moons!"

"Lilykit and Seedkit have only two," mumbles Amberkit, scraping the ground with her claws. "I wish they would wait for us, or something."

"Anyways, what I was going to say was this; there is a Gathering tonight, and I'm going to be gone. However, Daisy is still in the nursery, and she can watch over you while I'm gone, and there are going to be warriors to protect you. Okay? So no worries."

"And," adds Amberkit. "It's the night of the full moon, so no Clan would dare attack us!"

"I don't think there are going to be any attacks for a while," Brightheart murmurs darkly.

Not that I'm battle-hungry like the evil Tigerstar, but I want to be an apprentice and I want to fight in my first battle! I'll probably never get to though, because the Clans will hold a sort of peace-truce for so long after the Great Battle. I know all Clans are still recovering, either from the deaths of their own Clan, or the injuries, or the hurt at the betrayal of the cats.

"Let's go talk to the elders," Amberkit mews. "I wonder if Dustpelt and Graystripe have any good stories?"

"Millie's there too," adds Brightheart. "You missed her ceremony, you were sleeping, but she wanted to stay with her mate."

"Graystripe?"

"Indeed. Now go see if they'll tell you something about the old forest territories."

"Okay!" I say, and bounce over towards the elders without waiting for Amberkit and Dewkit.

Millie and Graystripe are sharing tongues outside of the nursery, while Dustpelt listens to Purdy, his eyes sparkling with annoyance.

"You can't have, Purdy. Any sane Clan cat knows not to take on a badger no matter how much experience they've got under their paws! We've had many warriors die because of badgers."

"I told you," Purdy says stubbornly. "I fought one, and beat it. It lumbered away whining like a kit."

I cough. "Excuse me?"

Dustpelt looks amused, while Purdy grumbles something unintelligible.

"He says he means a badger kit," explains Dustpelt, shooting Purdy a glance.

"Uh-huh," mews Purdy.

Amberkit races up. "Brightheart says we should ask you about the forest territories!"

"Did she now?" Purdy asks. "Well, can't say I know much about 'em, how about I tell you about the time when--"

"I know about them," interrupts Dustpelt. "And so does Graystripe. Hey, Graystripe!"

Graystripe's head rises from a mass of slumbering gray fur. Millie's curled up next to him, but she doesn't move as Graystripe stands, stretches, and pads over.

"Sorry to disturb your nap," Dustpelt meows, giving a small chuckle.

"I had just fallen asleep," Graystripe replied with mock indignation. "Anyhow, what do you want?"

"These kits want to know about the old territories."

"Yes, we do!" Amberkit says, shaking her tail.

"Well," begins Graystripe. "A long while ago, ThunderClan lived in a huge forest. It was marvelous! Far back over the mountains, we lived. There was this Twolegplace near ThunderClan territory, where another Clan used to live ages before, SkyClan. We bordered RiverClan and ShadowClan, but all of the Clans' territories met at Fourtrees, which was our Gathering place. ThunderClan had the best territory; there was a sandy hollow, where apprentices trained, Snakerocks, which was infested with snakes--that's a tale for another time--and there was Sunningrocks, which RiverClan and ThunderClan would constantly fight over. There was also this huge Thunderpath, where monsters rolled across day and night. Many warriors have died on that Thunderpath...lucky we don't have such a large one here!"

"Whoa," breathes Amberkit.

"Where'd you share tongues with StarClan?" Dewkit asks.

"Yeah," I add. "Where?"

"A place far beyond WindClan's territory called Highstones," Dustpelt says. "That's also where apprentices went as a sort of ceremony, they accompanied their leader, and sometimes their mentor or medicine cat there. There was a shining stone called the Moonstone at Highstones, and that is the equivalent of our Moonpool!"

"Huh," mews Dewkit. "Interesting."

"Yes, well, now you had better get to bed," Graystripe says, glancing at the moon. "It's almost time for the Gathering!"

And with that, he wakes up Millie, beckons Purdy and Dustpelt, and follows Bramblestar out of camp.

Chapter Three - Dew

I wish I got to go to the Gathering!

This morning is the day after the Gathering, and Snowkit, Amberkit, and I are waiting for Brightheart to wake up so we can make sure it's all right for us to visit the elders. It's almost sunhigh!

"Berrynose! Berrynose!"

Cherrypaw and Molepaw hurry into the camp. "Berrynose!"

Their cream-colored father pads over, his amber eyes shining with pride at his kits. "Yes, what is it?"

"Foxleap and Rosepetal said we might become warriors soon!" Molepaw chirps.

"Warriors!" repeats Cherrypaw excitedly. She kneads the ground with her forepaws. Her green eyes glitter with happiness. "Poppyfrost!"

The kits' tortoiseshell mother walks over, looking concerned. "We're going to be warriors!" explodes Molepaw. He bounces around, his cream and brown fur damp with the dew that has dried on his fur.

"You are?" A deep voice mews from behind them, and the two apprentices spin around, their parents both stifling laughs. Bramblestar stands behind them, his dark tabby pelt almost glowing in the sunlight, his amber eyes shining with amusement. His deputy, Squirrelflight, comes up behind him, and they stand over Molepaw and Cherrypaw. The two suddenly shrink.

"That's what Foxleap and Rosepetal said," squeaks Molepaw. Bramblestar lets out a purr.

"Then Foxleap and Rosepetal...are correct. ThunderClan!" yowls Bramblestar, and Brightheart wakes up with a start. She blinks blearily, then heaves herself out of her nest, and follows us out into the main area of the camp. We hover, just outside the nursery, while Bramblestar summons the rest of the Clan.

"It is time for two apprentices to become warriors," Bramblestar says, his voice booming like thunder around our camp. He beckons for Cherrypaw and Molepaw, who are brimming with excitement, while Poppyfrost and Berrynose stand back a little bit, smiling. "I, Bramblestar, leader of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon these two apprentices. They have studied hard to learn the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as a warrior in their turn."

Bramblestar turns to the two apprentices. "Molepaw, Cherrypaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code, even at the cost of your life?"

"I do," Molepaw mewed faintly, while Cherrypaw's "I do," rang clearly and loudly.

"Then, by the powers of StarClan, Molepaw, I give you your warrior name. From this day onward, you will be known as Molefoot. StarClan honors your courage and swiftness. Cherrypaw, from this moment on, you shall be known as Cherryheart. StarClan honors your quick thinking and determination. We welcome you both as full warriors of ThunderClan."

"Molefoot! Cherryheart! Molefoot! Cherryheart!"

"I wish we could've been made warriors yesterday," harrumphs Molepaw--I mean, Molefoot--with some slight annoyance. "Then we could've been recognized at the Gathering."

Molefoot is never satisfied.

***

"And there are three new ShadowClan apprentices," mews Graystripe. "Sparrowpaw, Mistpaw, and Dewpaw. Kinkfur's kits."

"Hey!" I say. "My name will be Dewpaw too! What if StarClan mixes us up?"

"ShadowClan Dewpaw is a she-cat," Dustpelt intervenes.

"Oh." Let's hope StarClan doesn't mix us up now. If they did...well, I'd hope that would say more about them than Dewpaw and me.

"She's Blackstar's apprentice," Millie adds.

"Whoa!" Snowkit says.

"I wonder if you'll be Bramblestar's apprentice?" Amberkit mews. "That would be a huge coincidence."

I don't tell her that I don't want to be a warrior. I'd rather be a medicine cat, and Jayfeather's apprentice. I mean...I'd rather heal my Clanmates than hurt other cats. I think they know that, ever since we discussed mentors...but they've never brought it up, and I'm not going to remind them. At least, not until my ceremony. When I receive Jayfeather as my mentor.

"Mother?" I ask, turning to Brightheart. "Can I go visit Jayfeather?"

Brightheart looks slightly surprised, but pleased as she mews, "Of course, dear. Go ahead."

I smile, and hop off. Snowkit and Amberkit don't notice me, thankfully, they're too busy wrestling. I hurry towards the medicine den.

"Jayfeather?" I call out hesitantly. "Jayfeather, can I ask you something?"

Jayfeather appears from the darkness, his blind blue eyes glittering with curiosity. "Yes? Dewkit?"

"I--can I be your apprentice?" I blurt out. Instantly I pull back, worried that I shouldn't have asked so soon and that he might refuse me. After all, the gray tabby tom hasn't had an apprentice yet, and he might think that I'm thinking he's old and needs to be replaced.

But his eyes soften, and he smiles. "When the time comes. For now, let me show you something." I follow him deeper into the den, and sit next to a dark brown she-cat. Briarlight.

"Hi Dewkit," mews Briarlight. "What's up? Did you get a thorn in your paw?"

I shake my head. "Nope."

"Did your brother or sister sit on you?" Briarlight guesses.

"Nope."

"Did your tail get stuck in a bramble bush?"

"Of course not, silly!"

"I give up," Briarlight says after a moment. "What happened?"

"He asked me a question," Jayfeather replies, coming out of his tiny supply store.

"And you're holding him prisoner?" Briarlight sounds astonished.

"Of course not," Jayfeather says. "Why would I do that?" He tilts his head innocently.

"Well?" I ask. "What did you want me in here for?"

"Right," Jayfeather says seriously. He pushes three leaves forward. The first one has a tangy smell and is large, the leaves wide and long. Dock. The next one is sort of bristle-y, with short leaves coming off of the long stock. Horsetail, I think. The third is green, and has a delicious, tantalizing smell. I don't recognize it.

"The first one is dock," I inform Jayfeather. "The second one...is horsetail?" Jayfeather nods slowly. "And I'm not sure about the third..."

"It's catmint," Jayfeather replies, gathering up the herbs. He sets them behind him, and presses two small seeds onto a leaf and slides it forward.

"Poppy seeds," I say firmly.

Jayfeather smiles. "Well, Dewkit. I think you'll make a great medicine cat apprentice."

Chapter Four - Amber

"Your mentors will be Bumblestripe and Thornclaw."

Lilypaw and Seedpaw lick their new mentors' shoulders. Thornclaw's eyes are shining with pride. Bumblestripe looks slightly nervous, but touches his nose to Lilypaw's head.

"Lilypaw! Seedpaw! Lilypaw! Seedpaw!"

Lilypaw and Seedpaw are my friends, so I'm not jealous. Pretty soon though, I'll be Amberpaw, and we'll be having training sessions again.

"Cloudtail!" Snowkit cries, and leaps onto our father. Cloudtail staggers slightly, and Brightheart laughs at him.

Cinderheart mews in amusement as she and Lionblaze pad past, their tails entwined. Birchfall sits near the warriors' den with Whitewing, and the two are sharing tongues. I hope Dovewing is my mentor!

Foxleap hurries past, a vole dangling by its tail from his mouth.

"Funny," Snowkit says in my ear. He has hopped off of our father, and is grooming his paws behind me. "Foxleap just inhaled three mice. Wonder who that's for?"

"You're too nosy," I tell Foxleap. "Why should it matter to us?"

"Because we might have more playmates before we're apprentices," Dewkit says seriously. "Look at Dovewing and Bumblestripe."

Bumblestripe is nuzzling Dovewing's muzzle, and she turns to tell him something. His blue eyes light up with excitement, a feeling that is reflected in his mate's golden eyes.

Cinderheart and Lionblaze hurry up to the two, both talking with the same measure of excitement.

"Uh-oh," Snowkit says to me. "The nursery is going to be crowded." He raises his voice on the 'crowd' part of the word.

I flick my brother with my tail, and he scampers off, bowling Dewkit over in the process.

"I wonder who Foxleap's prey is for," I ask Dewkit as we both settle down outside the nursery. I feel like an elder, gossiping. We should go confer with Graystripe and Dustpelt for more information.

"I bet it's Ivypool," Dewkit replies. "I mean, really. Look. He's giving that vole to her."

"Let's go talk to the elders," I decide. We stand up, stretch, and pad towards the den.

All of a sudden, Squirrelflight comes hurtling into the camp, her green eyes wide and desperate. Bramblestar skids through the barrier behind her.

Squirrelflight's eyes are brimming with tears, and she shares a glance with her sister, Leafpool. Leafpool bows her head, as though she already knows what Squirrelflight's news is before she has delivered it.

"Sandstorm is dead."

***

My dreams tonight are troubled, and I can feel the moss separating beneath my writhing bones. I've whacked Snowkit twice with my paws, and hit Dewkit with my tail. I only know about those because Snowkit woke me up all three times with an annoyed hiss. Dewkit's too polite to say anything.

"Why didn't you let me kill her? She stole Firestar's love from you."

"There was nothing to steal!" The words echo in my head. "There was nothing to steal! Sandstorm made him happy!"

The pale ginger pelt is limp under neath a ginger-and-white she-cat. The second voice is there, but there's no cat from which it comes.

"Spottedleaf?"

A familiar voice enters my head. "Spottedleaf?"

"She's not here, Sandstorm."

It's Firestar! And Sandstorm!

Am I in StarClan?

"Oh, Firestar!"

I watch as the two ginger pelts hurtle towards each other, purring happily. More starry cats appear around them, and I recognize a cat that looks like Cinderheart...

"Cinderpelt?" Sandstorm turns her head to see the gray she-cat.

"But I thought--you and Cinderheart--"

"Our spirits have divided," the she-cat mews. "We're no longer one."

Why am I here? I think. Why am I witnessing all of this?

Sandstorm made him happy!

She made....him....happy...

Chapter Five - now

Cinderheart and Dovewing have both moved into the nursery, making it more crowded than ever. Luckily, Sorreltail was able to return to her warrior duties, and since her daughters are apprentices, we only have four queens.

I wonder why Daisy always stays in the nursery. She says that it seems like we can't get enough of what she wants to stay away from. Being a warrior.

But the worst part about Cinderheart and Dovewing being in the nursery is the gossip!

I don't know how the other queens and Amberkit and Dewkit can stand it!

"Remember Longtail?" They say. "Remember Sol?"

I need a break from it all!

So I hatch a plan--a plan to get out of camp.

***

It's moonhigh, and Leafpool is snoozing at the thorn barrier. Her amber eyes are closed, her white chest rising and falling, slowly, steadily...

Like a strike of lightning, I slip out of the den, and melt into the shadows. I slowly creep back to the dirtplace, when all of a sudden, I hear a loud "Oomph!" and my paw slips on the dusty ground, colliding with something furry.

"Watch it!" growls a voice. I turn, pressing up against the stone of the gorge, and watch as an amber-eyed cat slips out, glaring around, before disappearing up into the warriors' den. They didn't discover me.

So far, success is mine.

I realize I could just sleep during the day and play in the night, but Bramblestar and the warriors would probably get mad at me. So my plan will work.

I just needed some air, that's what I'll say. They can't accuse me of doing anything wrong with that excuse!

Halfway through the dirtplace, I hear voices, raising, and I hold my breath and skirt through the small clearing, toward the voices.

"It's obvious, Toadstep. I know you care more about her than me!"

"No! I don't, honestly. I'd rather be with you...than with her."

"You're lying." The first voice is a she-cat's, the second Toadstep's. I can just make out the pelt of the reddish tabby in the moonlight, the small sliver of visible moon shining brightly. The other cat...Blossomfall? Hazeltail? The only bit of pelt I can make out is patches of white, and both she-cats have white on them, though they look very different.

"Icecloud--" Aha! "Icecloud, don't go."

"What will Blossomfall think?"

So this is about Blossomfall...I thought Mousewhisker liked her?

"She shouldn't matter, Icecloud! I choose you!

"She matters to me," Icecloud says, turning away from Toadstep. "She's my friend, and I don't want to hurt her. You should pick another she-cat."

Icecloud pads toward me. I dart away, not knowing where I'm going. Green foliage and trees block my view, and I feel my paws being pricked by thorns and trailing brambles.

"Is someone--" Icecloud's voice trails away, and soon, I'm so far away I'm not even sure if I'm still in ThunderClan territory.

It's stil super dark outside, and I've run a long way. But I know no cats will find me now. No one. I'll be far away from their gossip and noise.

My eyes droop with exhaustion as I slow...and then I stop, my legs collapsing out from under me. The last thing I see before I fall asleep is the silver pattern of the stars above my head, and the trees' leaves like shadows crisscrossing on the black pelt of the sky.

Chapter Six - Dew

"Where's Snowkit?"

I slowly blink my eyes open to see Brightheart scurrying frantically around the den, bumping into Cinderheart and Dovewing, jostling Daisy, scrambling around and looking for my brother.

Amberkit yawns. "I'm sure he just went out to get a piece of fresh-kill." Brightheart hops over her nest and hurries into the middle of camp.

"Snowkit? Snowkit!"

"Brightheart!"

Cloudtail races over to his mate. "What's wrong?"

"It's Snowkit! He's gone!"

Amberkit and I peer worriedly out of the den, our eyes adjusting to the bright sunshine. "He can't have gone far," I tell Amberkit nervously. Her amber eyes flick around the camp, going to the dens and straining to see if Snowkit's inside.

"Where is he?" she whispers.

"Maybe...it's a game?" I ask tentatively. "Hide-and-seek?"

"If it is," Cloudtail mews, coming up behind us, "he's going to be in big trouble."

An idea hits Amberkit. "Maybe he's in the forest! Oh, Cloudtail, you should let us look for him! We'd know where he's gone!"

Cloudtail shares an uncertain glance with Brightheart, who firmly shakes her head after a moment. "They're not allowed out of camp," she says, repeating Cloudtail's words the night before.

"But Snowkit probably went out of camp," Amberkit persists.

Brightheart's eyes widen in alarm. "He's just a kit! What if a badger gets him? What if an eagle--or a hawk---or an owl--or...or...a fox gets him?" Her voice rises to a wail, and brings the other warriors trotting out of their dens.

Jayfeather's on his paws in an instant, his blue eyes alert and his ears pricked. "Snowkit?"

Bramblestar emerges from his den. "Snowkit? Missing?"

I can tell he's nervous. It's the first major thing that's happened since the Great Battle, and it's testing his skills as a leader.

Bramblestar takes a deep breath and squares his shoulders. "Squirrelflight, come here." The ginger she-cat pads obediently over to stand by her leader. "Cloudtail, you will follow Snowkit's trail with Hazeltail and Foxleap. Brackenfur, take Ivypool and Spiderleg, as well as Birchfall and Sorreltail, and scour the territory."

Brackenfur nods. "Hazeltail!" After summoning the younger warrior, Brackenfur nods to Spiderleg, Birchfall, and Sorreltail, and they head out of camp, Cloudtail, Dovewing, and Foxleap on their paws.

"Maybe he ran away?" Amberkit suggests quietly.

"Why would he?"

"Well, maybe it's--"

"But it's only been a moon! Is something wrong?"

"No, Lionblaze," soothes another voice, and I turn. Dovewing is patting her former mentor on the flank with her tail, while he bends over Cinderheart, who is breathing heavily.

"The kits are coming!" I yowl, and Jayfeather freezes. He's opposite his den, and Cinderheart is sounding...unhealthy.

Jayfeather races to his den, and digs through his stores. "Is there anything we can do to help?" Amberkit inquires. She's looking at me.

"I don't know. I'm not a medicine cat!"

"Yet," Amberkit says with a small smile. I turn back towards the nursery, and hear Cinderheart let out a soft exhale of relief.

"That's all?" Lionblaze asks uncertainly.

"One more..." his brother mews, but he sounds apprehensive. "It's--"

"Dead," Cinderheart mews flatly. I peer through the lower branches of the bramble bush.

A small cat is mewling, fumbling towards Cinderheart's belly, while the other one is limp in Cinderheart's nest, its fuzzy ears tilted awkwardly, its flank still.

The live kit is white, with tabby patches and soft-looking, fluffy fur. Lionblaze's eyes shine.

"It's a she-cat," Jayfeather says.

"She's beautiful," Lionblaze replies. He nuzzles Cinderheart. "What should we name her?"

Cinderheart is just staring at her dead kit. "She should have stayed with us," she mews sadly.

"One's dead," I inform Amberkit. Her amber eyes widen.

"A...a stillborn, right?" I nod.

"What's her name?" prompts Jayfeather.

Lionblaze and Cinderheart glance at each other, and a look of understanding passes between them.

"Hollykit."

Welcome to ThunderClan, young kit.

Chapter Seven - Amber

Where in StarClan is Snowkit?

He seemed to be forgotten in the flurry of excitement after Hollykit was born, and afterward the patrols came back--with no sign of him! He can't have gone far.

I can remember when Cloudtail padded back into camp, his blue eyes dull with grief. Hazeltail and Foxleap had followed him, their heads bowed, their pelts brushing.

"We couldn't find his trail. It started, briefly, then disappeared, as though he had been carried into the sky," Cloudtail had reported. Bramblestar's eyes were downcast, and Brightheart had wailed with grief, jumping to conclusions.

The other border-patrollers had found nothing, and the sunset patrol came back with no trace of white fur.

Currently, it's been two sunrises, and Hollykit has opened her eyes. They're a bright, brilliant blue, the exact same as her mother's. StarClan knows we need no more amber-eyed kits!

"Amberkit," squeals Hollykit, tripping towards me. "Dewkit!"

Dewkit turns around, his pale gray fur flat with his ferocious cleaning. "Hollykit!"

The small kit bounces over to Dewkit, and hops on top of him. "Be careful with her!" Cinderheart calls.

Dewkit pretends to buckle under her weight. "Oof!"

A loud crash comes from nearby, and Hollykit shrieks, falling off of Dewkit, who stands up. "Cinderheart!" yowls Hollykit, as she runs, tripping, towards the nursery. Cinderheart's fluffy gray head appears in the nursery entrance, her blue eyes wide and frightened.

The sky is darkening, heavy storm clouds rolling in. My parents know what this means, and Brightheart lets out a high-pitched caterwaul.

"He's never going to come back!" Cloudtail's tail droops and he bows his head. The coming storm will wash away all of Snowkit's scent.

Dewkit's eyes meet mine. "We have to find him!" I whisper, as the wind picks up. The Clan is scurrying around, moving the fresh-kill pile to a dry place, patching up the thorn barrier, reinforcing the walls of all of the dens, and staring apprehensively up at the sky.

"We'll go now," Dewkit says. "You're right. We have to find him."

"We'll go through the dirtplace tunnel," I decide. "No one can object to that."

I slowly edge through into the dirtplace, the smell of waste overwhelming me. "Come on," I tell Dewkit, and, holding my breath, dash to the other side, forcing my way through the brambles. Dewkit follows me, squealing as he attempts to avoid the small piles.

We get out just in time, I can hear a cat coming in to make dirt just as Dewkit's tail disappears.

That's when I smell it. Strong, definite...there. It's definitely there.

Snowkit's scent.

***

"Amberkit!" hisses Dewkit, staring through the leaves at me. There's a dark spot on his forehead. Rain.

"We have to hurry," I reply, and put my nose close to the ground. Snowkit's scent is there, but faint. It's then that we come to a large, wide clearing that stretches away from the camp, which is far, far behind us now.

His scent trail vanishes here...but it's sort of stale, as though he was--there it is again! Was he in a tussle?

"StarClan," breathes Dewkit, "no."

Up ahead, through the swirling leaves and dripping rain, over the howling of the wind whipping through the forest and blowing off the lake, we can see, and hear, a common enemy.

Twolegs.

"They've taken him," I tell Dewkit. "It's the only possibility!"

A yowl reaches our ears, sounding like a whisper over the wail of the wind.

"It's Snowkit," Dewkit and I say at the same time. "We've got to rescue him!"

We hare toward the Twolegs, just as the rain starts to pour. Droplets spatter our pelts, and soon we're wet and chilled to the bone, but we're closer to the Twolegs' nest.

And there...there's Snowkit.

Chapter Eight - Snow

My eyes slowly blink open, and I'm near-blinded with harsh, vibrant lights, loud noises, an a musty, acrid smell filling my nostrils.

Everything swims into focus, and I see four pairs of eyes close to mine. I squeal, startled, and they pull back, revealing themselves to be Twolegs.

Twolegs!

I've been caught! I knew I shouldn't have run away from camp!

The first Twoleg is definitely female, with warm eyes the color of Bramblestar's pelt, and headfur that's the same color. She's older, maybe the younger two females' mother? Her mate stands next to her, one long foreleg wrapped around her middle. Twolegs are so odd, standing on hind legs, waving their large, pink, hairless forepaws around in the air.

I glance at my surroundings. I'm encased by shiny, silvery material, in a box formation around me. The ground beneath my pads is hard and slippery, and when I let my claws out, they scitter and make screeching noises on the floor. In the corner is a soft, fuzzy, pelt-like material folded into a small, neat heap. To the left of the pelt is a small scoop with water, and then another scoop with what looks like...rabbit droppings? Or cat-dirt? They can't expect me to eat that, can they?

The youngest Twoleg, also female, pokes her small pink paw into the cage, one finger entering the grid of silver. I tentatively pad toward it, when, out of nowhere, I feel a sharp pain in my left eye, and everything goes black.

***

When I wake up again, I'm elsewhere, and a young, male Twoleg is standing over me, almost an adult, sort of like a new warrior.

My eye is burning, searing like it's on fire. I can't see out of it, and I try and use my right eye to peer at it, but can't seem to get around my nose. I let out a soft wail, and the Twoleg makes a face of sympathy at me, stroking my ears, and then scratching my chin.

The Twoleg makes a few noises, and begins to move around, bustling about in this new place. I'm in a different part of the den now, if even the same place. It smells different, harsh, sharp...clean. Everything's white, the color of Cloudtail's pelt, and when I turn back around to locate the Twoleg, I see a sharp, pointy object moving toward my hind leg.

I squeal, and involuntarily shy away. The Twoleg seems to get impatient, for he shouts something, and another Twoleg enters the room.

All of the Twolegs now flooding into my vision almost overwhelm me, and I practically lose consciousness before the pointy, stick-like object pokes into my hindleg.

Instead of instantly blacking out, my eyelid droops with exhaustion after a moment, and everything in my peripheral dims, slowly, painfully. Only one eye is affected by this change...

And I remember nothing more.

***

A third time, I open my eyes, expecting a bright Twoleg thing to be shining into my eyes, no, eye, but I see nothing. Nothing.

I've gone blind...in both eyes!

"Just sleep," a voice soothes at my ear, and I open my mouth to draw in the scent. Brightheart! Has she been captured too?

"Sleep, Snowkit. You're safe...just sleep..." Brightheart murmurs.

"Mother!" I lunge out, and hear a grunt. Brightheart's soft laugh reaches my ears.

"You've got a fighter, Brightheart," grunts Jayfeather. "His siblings will be proud of him. Especially Amberpaw."

Amberpaw?

They've been made apprentices without me?

"I wanna be an apprentice!" I cry. "Brightheart, Brightheart, I can't see!"

"I need to give him poppy seeds," Jayfeather whispers urgently. Another voice blooms at my ear.

"Hush, Snowkit."

"Dewkit?"

"That's right."

"Why aren't you Dewpaw?" I ask feebly, hoping my thoughts aren't accurate.

But I'm wrong, completely wrong, and it makes me feel horrible as soon as he says it.

"Because I wanted to wait for you."

Chapter Nine - Dew

"...your mentor will be Blossomfall."

The newly named Snowpaw's eyes widen with shock and disbelief, and he mouths, Blossomfall? as he licks his mentor's shoulder. I just give him a brief smile as I stand by Jayfeather.

As it turns out, Snowpaw's eye healed with some minor trouble, but it healed and he has regained sight in both of his eyes.

As soon as he's free to go, Snowpaw bounds over to me, and we're joined by Amberpaw. Her amber eyes are wide with approval. Her mentor is Bramblestar.

"Congratulations, Snowpaw," she mews. Snowpaw turns sourly to her.

"And you're going to be all high-and-mighty, are you, Amberpaw? Becoming an apprentice before me, getting Bramblestar as your mentor instead of Blossomfall, and you're oh-so-special, 'cause you've got the leader as your mentor, and you're going to be the next leader of ThunderClan--"

Amberpaw's eyes fill with tears, and I lay my tail on Snowpaw's shoulder. "Snowpaw," I say warningly, but he just rambles on, unaware of Amberpaw's anguish.

Without warning, our sister breaks away and races towards the apprentices' den, tears falling from her eyes as she runs. I round on Snowpaw.

"Great job, Snowpaw," I snap. "Now she's going to hate you. And me as well!" Snowpaw hisses defensively.

"You've got Jayfeather as your mentor! She's got Bramblestar! Who do I get? I get Blossomfall, the traitorous warrior who was training with the Dark Forest--"

"Don't--" I interject. "She's fine now. She fought for us in the battle."

"Fine," snarls Snowpaw, and stalks off. "If that's how you want it to be."

"I--"

But he's gone, bristling, towards Blossomfall, whose smile falters at her new apprentice's anger. He strides right past her and heads into the apprentices' den, coming back out a moment later with a white paw swiping at his tail.

In the mean time, I go to the nursery to check on Dovewing. The queen is smiling as Hollykit plays with her plumy tail, twitching it out of reach every time Hollykit's sharp silver claws sneak out of her paws.

"Excuse me, Hollykit," I mew, gently nudging the small kit aside, back towards her mother. I lift up my paw, and give Dovewing's belly a poke, claws sheathed. She winces slightly.

"Have you felt any pain?" I inquire.

"In my tail..." she jokes, casting a glance at Hollykit, who's playing with a small ball of moss that Cinderheart formed for her. I roll my eyes, and quickly flick my tail out of reach. Hollykit has a very short attention span.

"But also," she winces again, "a bit in my--" She breaks off into a yowl. Patiently, I pat her stomach again, and she flinches.

"Jayfeather!" I call. The tabby medicine cat comes into the nursery, herbs clamped in my jaws.

"Belly since sunrise," Dovewing finishes quickly. "They're coming, aren't they?"

I nod. "Poppy seeds?" prompts Jayfeather.

I shake my head. "No, she needs to do it on her own. Poppy seeds will dull her senses."

"Right," Jayfeather says. "Okay, Dovewing, do your best."

"That's a bit hard," growls Dovewing, clenching her teeth. She gives a yowl.

By the time Bumblestripe is alerted and enters the den, three small kits are squirming in Dovewing's nest, and she's panting with relief. "They're beautiful," Bumblestripe says in a choked voice. "Beautiful."

Three toms, a ginger-and-black one, an orange-red one, and a black one, the first two with eyes the color of leaves, the third with eyes like the setting sun.

"Like your mother, the first two. And my father, the third," Bumblestripe tells his mate. "They're...they're..."

"Yours," promises Jayfeather. I smile.

"What are their names?"

"The ginger-and-black one...Sunkit. The ginger-red one...Maplekit. The third one..." Bumblestripe replies automatically.

"Not letting the mother decide, eh?" smirks Jayfeather. "Go on, Dovewing, name the last one."

"Firekit."

"Of course," replies Jayfeather. "Great names. Congratulations, you two."

"Congratulations," I say, and follow Jayfeather out of the den.

New kits are always great.

Chapter Ten - Amber

My eyes are still wet as I emerge from the apprentices' den, and pad over to my mentor. Bramblestar is sitting expectantly outside of his den, his tail neatly wrapped around his paws. A smile twitches at the corners of his lips, though his amber eyes are unfathomable. He twitches his ears, and Squirrelflight's immediately at his side, like a descending StarClan warrior.

My mentor whispers something to Squirrelflight, and she gives a short nod, pelting away.

I turn back towards the medicine den, where Dewpaw is settling down outside with a jumbled stack of leaves in front of him, concentration on his face. Hollykit bounds past, scattering dust and debris onto the leaves, but Dewpaw just gives a slight cough, and begins to sort through them.

Absently, I move my gaze back towards my mentor. I don't register the absence of dark brown tabby fur against rock until I hear his deep mew behind me. "Mind wandering, Amberpaw?"

I whip around at Bramblestar's voice, and see his eyes glinting with amusement. I nod, afraid I'll stammer if I reply using my voice.

"Well," continues my mentor, "I'll be teaching you how to hunt, if you to join me in the forest."

I nod quickly, and he leads me out of the camp. I flash a sad smile at Dewpaw as I pass him, and he beams widely, waving his tail in farewell. Snowpaw is still nowhere to be seen, especially after his outburst.

I feel only half-bad about swiping at his tail when he attempted to enter the den. He had just insulted me without any provocation, and, personally, I felt that he should be cleaning out the elders' bedding for a few sunrises.

"Lower your tail," Bramblestar orders a moment later, as we're standing near a large oak. I'm poised in the hunting crouch, my belly fur brushing the soft ground, my tail sticking strait out like a stick.

"Breathe through your nose," commands Bramblestar, and I shut my mouth, pushing air out my nostrils and watching it rustle the leaves. All of a sudden, Bramblestar stills, his ears pricked, eyes wide, mouth open. He flicks his tail towards a scuffling at the base of the tree, barely a tail-length away.

A small brown head emerges from among the roots, poking its pinkish nose out of the slim branches on the ground. A nut is clamped in its jaws, and as a fluffy tail bushed up, I recognize the animal as a squirrel.

"Catch it," mouths Bramblestar, and I slink forward, sliding my paws over the ground instead of clunking forward like an overweight badger.

I'm a mouse-length away when the squirrel emerges further, its back to Bramblestar and me, and it's tail brushes my whiskers. I feel my nose begin to itch, but before I sneeze I leap forward, paws and claws outstretched.

But I overleap, and skid around, sending the terrified squirrel racing away--right into the claws of Bramblestar. He kills it with a swift bite to the spine, and stares at me admirably.

"Good tactic," he says. "You took note of my position, and leaped too far, knowing that the squirrel would hear you and smell you, and you frightened it--right into my paws!"

I shuffle my paws, embarrassed. Bramblestar overestimates me. It was an accident, my too-far leap, I wasn't expecting it and swung around with more force than expected.

"See if you can catch something else!" Bramblestar mews excitedly. I sniff the air, and detect a faint, musky scent.

"Mouse?" I inquire, and he nods, signalling to me with his ears to be quiet. I hold back, waiting to see if he's going to pounce, or he's leaving the job to me.

Bramblestar urges me forward, and I repeat my movements, paws sliding on the ground. A small animal, smaller than a squirrel and walking on all four paws, skitters out of the safety of a bush, and into the open. I pounce.

My claws sink into the flesh, and I feel blood seep over my claws. Unsure whether the animal is truly dead or not, I nip its spine. It protests weakly.

"Amberpaw," Bramblestar's voice says, snapping me away from the prey. "You're mangling the mouse."

I release the animal, and it dies, bleeding its life away. Bramblestar's face curls into a frown.

"I'll catch more," I promise.

"Let's make it a contest," he says thoughtfully. "I can hunt only blackbirds, and whoever can get five pieces of prey back here first wins."

"Got it," I mew shakily. I take a deep breath.

"Ready?"

"Yes."

Bramblestar shoots off, and I freeze, opening my mouth to detect the prey. A scent that smells sort of like a mouse hits my scent glands, and I slink towards it, dropping into my hunter's crouch. Within moments, I've sat up, an animal resembling a mouse hanging from my jaws. I think it's a vole.

There's no blood on the mouse, only a bit on my claws. I bury the prey as Bramblestar instructed me to do before catching the squirrel. I head off in search of another piece of prey.

There! Thrush!

I've never tried catching birds before, but this one is pecking at the ground, unaware of me. I catch it easily, and it only loses a few feathers, and is otherwise uninjured--except for the fact that it's dead.

Two pieces of prey later, I'm sitting proudly over my catch as Bramblestar pads back, blackbirds dangling by their wings in his jaws.

"Won't that tear?" I ask cheekily, cocking my head. Bramblestar drops his prey and laughs.

"Nope!"

A breeze wafts toward me, and I inhale. "What is that?"

"Rabbit," breathes Bramblestar.

"I'll catch it!"

And I do.

When we arrive back in camp, Graystripe is in awe. "Seven pieces of prey on your first hunt?"

"I caught five," Bramblestar inputs, and Graystripe chuckles.

"What?" We hear a yowl. "But she's not even pregnant!"

"Well, she's got kits coming, so budge up!"

Cinderheart and Dovewing are rustling in the nursery, Blossomfall bustling in and panting slightly, Jayfeather hurrying after her.

"What in StarClan?" Dovewing mews.

"Great StarClan, it's crowded," Cinderheart mutters.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Blossomfall says, her sides heaving. "I didn't know!"

Mousewhisker's hovering anxiously outside. "I thought--why didn't you--Blossomfall!" His voice is cut off by a shriek.

"It hurts!" Blossomfall wails, and I realize I'm frozen in place.

"Should it hurt?" I ask Dewpaw in an undertone as he speeds toward Jayfeather. He gives me a short, brief nod.

"A bit," he replies, disappearing.

It's all so sudden, a loud, low caterwaul, mewling, and then silence. Mousewhisker staggers out, his face pale and his eyes wide.

"Who--I'll--kill--" His words are barely forming through the torrent of tears, and I can assume the worst.

Blossomfall wasn't ready, and she didn't survive.

Chapter Eleven - Snow

"Today we grieve for the loss of Blossomfall. She was a great warrior, and would have been a fantastic mother. However, we also have a new mentor to appoint. Snowpaw, step forward, please."

I step forward. "Snowpaw, from this day on until you receive your warrior name, your mentor will be Lionblaze. Lionblaze, Snowpaw will be your second apprentice. I trust you to pass on all of your redeeming skills to Snowpaw."

Lionblaze rests his muzzle on top of my head, and I lick his shoulder. Though I was sad to see Blossomfall go, it might be a nice change to have a mentor that would treat me like an equal - not, of course, that Blossomfall hadn't, but she had never really gotten around to teach me anything.

"Can we go out?" Lionblaze inquires of our leader as the group began to break up. Bramblestar nods, and Lionblaze flicks his tail for me to follow him.

"Where are we going?"

"I want to show you the lake. Who knows, we might even practice a few fighting moves. It will give you an advantage if you ever have to fight in the water, with RiverClan or not," Lionblaze mews. We exit the camp, and Lionblaze begins to point out landmarks.

"And this is the Sky Oak," he says, gesturing to a large oak tree set back from the lake. The cool water laps at our paws, and I stiffen. Even as a kit, I hadn't been too fond of water.

"Mm," I mumble. Lionblaze catches my uncertainty, but instead of questioning if I was all right, he begins to talk.

"Snowpaw. Don't be afraid of the water. My brother is afraid of the water - but he gave up everything, he nearly drowned, going into the water and trying to save the ShadowClan medicine cat. And that's how he got over his fear. Water isn't something to be afraid of - it's something you can use to your advantage. RiverClan use it, we can too. Remember that, in battle, Snowpaw."

I nod eagerly, forgetting my embarrassment. "Can we practice those battle moves you told me about?"

"Of course," Lionblaze says smoothly, plucking a stick from the water and tossing it away. "But first we should probably clear ll of this debris away. It would've been tough work fighting with a bunch of trash in the water!"

An idea blossomed into my head, just then, and I move forward, as though to to block my mentor.

Lionblaze shoots me a quizzical look, and I abruptly drop back, realizing that a measly apprentice's plan wouldn't help the Clan in anyway, and my mentor would probably be quick to reject it. I am, however, mistaken, as Lionblaze opens his mouth and insists that I explain whatever had occurred to me to him.

I am a bit chary of revealing my idea at first, but as Lionblaze begins to nod, I grow more confident.

"And if we don't remove the garbage, we'll have the advantage of being able to fight if there is garbage on a battleground with RiverClan. We'll also be more skilled at fighting with obstacles, so we'll become accustomed to the clutter around our paws. Training at a more advanced level - with the garbage - will cause a real battle in easier conditions to come alot more smoothly, and we'll be swifter and nimbler than we could have imagined even with the debris," I suggest. Lionblaze's golden face breaks into a grin, and he shakes his head, a smile lingering on his face. I frown, slightly; the smile and the headshake are quite contradictory.

"That's a marvelous idea," declares Lionblaze. He gives his head another quick shake. "But what I don't see is how you came up with that idea!"

I am startled that he accepted me, but even more startled that he didn't question the plan, rather, the origins of the plan.

"It just...came to me," I stammer.

"Well, then, it was serendipitous! StarClan's will," muses Lionblaze, shaking his great golden head once more, a smile still curling his features. "I can't believe it. Bramblestar wouldn't have thought of it. Why, Firestar probably wouldn't have thought of it!"

"No," I insist. "Firestar would've thought of it." I have heard great tales about the enormous ginger leader, and I am nothing compared to him.

"C'mon, then," Lionblaze says gruffly, cuffing me playfully over the ear. "Let's get back to camp and share this marvelous idea with your Clanmates. We'll see who's comparing you to Firestar then!" I laugh along with my new mentor as I trundle back to camp.

I decide that I like Lionblaze, and I am glad to have him as my new mentor - even if the circumstances weren't particularly the best.

Chapter Twelve - Dew

After the vigil for Blossomfall is finished, Jayfeather and I wearily return to our den, just as the sun peeks through the trees, sending shafts of golden light filtering into the camp. Amberpaw is pacing the edge of the camp, while Snowpaw is staring somberly at his paws. His new mentor is Lionblaze, my own mentor's brother, and despite his expression, I knew he was struggling to contain his excitement.

"Get some sleep," I mew to Jayfeather, who is pacing the den, still looking worried. "I'll make sure everyone's all right. Give a few poppy seeds to Mousewhisker and check to make sure their kit is alright. He or she can suckle with Hollykit or Dovewing's kits, right?"

Jayfeather gives a sleepy nod, seemingly having no biting words in store for the morning, and curls his tail around his nose, his eyes closing and his breathing evening in an instant.

I pad back out into the camp, stretching in the warm rays that are hitting the floor of the camp. Most of the cats are curled up in their dens, or else splayed on the rocks surrounding the camp, eager to soak up any sunlight they can. Purdy is flat on his stomach, his chin resting on the slope of a rock, his tabby pelt looking sleek and shiny. Graystripe is beside him, sitting neatly and rasping a tongue over his paws.

Heading into the nursery, I hear the soft mewling of a newborn kit, and see a black and white she-cat with eyes the color of the sky watching Maplekit and Sunkit, two of Dovewing's three sons, play-fighting, wrestling each other and yowling joyfully. I smile at Mousewhisker's daughter, who beams, and head over to Mousewhisker himself, who is sitting off to the side of the nursery, eyes unfocused, as he sees the other kits playing. Bumblestripe and Lionblaze are crouched beside their mates, letting the other two kits, Firekit and Hollykit (Dovewing and Cinderheart's, respectively) crawl all over them. Mousewhisker doesn't bat an eye when I come closer to him.

I extend my paw, which is speckled in poppy seeds, three.

"No," he replies roughly, pushing my paw away. "I'm fine." He lowers his head and stares at his kit, who is jumping to her feet, tottering a bit, and trips over to join the rest, who are bounding outside to request their favorites from the elder's tales.

"You're not fine," I growl. "Eat them." I push my paw towards his own, transferring the tiny black dots to his paw, where he reluctantly licks them up. Stifling down a snappish reply of relief, I instead say pleasantly, "What have you decided to name her?"

"Skykit," Mousewhisker mumbles. "Because of her eyes."

"That's sweet," I reply. "Mind if I give her a quick check-up before she goes to talk with the elders? Make sure her breathing is okay?"

"Don't mind," Mousewhisker replies sleepily, the poppy seeds already beginning to take affect. "Go ahead."

I smile, and hurry out of the den towards the elders, who are being dragged out of their stupors by the excited, bouncing kits hungry for a story. Skykit sits at the back, her head tilted up so she can see the broad face of Purdy  as he begins to tell a story.

"Skykit?" I whisper, and she turns, blue eyes wide. "Can you come here for a minute?"

"But Purdy's telling us about the time that a fox almost got him," she whispers back in reply, nodding earnestly. "I haven't heard this one before!"

Remembering the tale fondly, I shrug. "All right, then, but make sure to come to my den afterwards, I have something very important to tell you, okay?"

"Okay!" she chirps, and turns her attention back to Purdy, who is now in the middle of describing the vicious vixen who was ready to accuse him of stealing her babies and eating them for breakfast, though it was more likely that she would do the same to a queen's kits.

Shaking my head, I turn back to my den. A thought strikes me, then, and I turn back to the kits, who are cheering and laughing, rolling on their backs with their paws in the air. I see Cinderheart and Dovewing, watching affectionately from the mouth of the nursery, their tails wrapped around their paws as they survey their kits, beaming. I'd never get to feel the pride that they felt, I'd never get to feel my own kit's tiny claws scrabbling at my pelt. I'd never take a mate, never have kits. 

When I took the oath, it seemed I wasn't missing out on anything. Blossomfall's death had proved that.

But now...now, I wasn't so sure.

Chapter Thirteen - Amber

"Amberpaw, Snowpaw, do you promise to uphold the ways of a warrior, even at the cost of your life?" Bramblestar's booming voice ecoed the clearing.

"I do." I purred, sitting up straight. While Snowpaw shifted his paws. "I have something to say.... If you will, Bramblestar." Bramblestar's eyes were understanding. "Of corse, Snowpaw." Snowpaw's voice was confident when he spoke: "Thank you, Blossomfall... I know I wasn't your apprentice for awhile, but... I do have something to give you.. I will protect Skypaw with my life." Skypaw, who was sitting by her father, smiled. I looked at Lilyheart, who looked jealousy at them. Every cat knew she wanted to bear his kits. "I do." Snowpaw meowed proudly . Bramblestar smiled as he said: "Amberpaw, from this day forward, you will be known as Amberlight. Snowpaw, you will be known as Snowfall." Snowfall smiled and walked toward Lilyheart.  I just stood there. I didn't know what to do. Skypaw came towards me, purring. " Amberlight! Snowfall! " she began the chant. I smiled, Skypaw was a true friend.                                                              ~ "Amberlight..... Will you be my mate?" Ask Thornclaw ask, rubbing his muzzle across her's.  I chocked, "Yes!" I purred , following him to camp. 


                                   ~ "Amberlight.... I don't know how to say this.... " Dewpaw meowed. "You are expecting kits.... " he felt my belly. "At least 7! You probably will have the most in the clan!" My belly tightened, me and Thornclaw had mated a moon and a half ago! "When will they be born?" I chocked out. " At most, a week. " Duskpaw let his tail feel my fat belly. How had I not noticed?!  "Ok... Thanks..." I walked outside, Thornclaw sat beside Poppyfrost. " Thornclaw! " I called. Poppyfrost smiled at me, and looked at my belly.  "It may be important... Go!" Poppyfrost shoved him . "Okokok!!" Howled Thornclaw.  I lead him to the forest. " what is it? Are you ok? " Thornclaw ask, his gaze soft. "I am expecting kits! More than seven!" I purred . He purred, "yay! I will be a father!"  We walked under the trees, as one.


"One more, Amberlight!" Meowed Dewrise, who was now  a full medical cat. I have birth to another.  "How many?" I ask Thornclaw. Thornclaw licked my cheek, " six. "  I felt myself slip into a deep, sleep.  "Amberlight! Your here! " a small kit bounced up against my paws. "Were am i?" I ask, pushing my muzzle into his.  " Starclan, or corse! " he meowed. I tugged my muzzle away from his grasp. His claws dug into my muzzle, making me want to vomit. "Let me go, what's you name?!" I ask, itching my muzzle. " I am Quailkit, Lovestar's kit. " he smat, looking me in the eye, "as the snow falls, and amber permeates the sky, dew shall rise." He hissed, ecoing the cave. "What? Tell me! I am not a medic cat!" I hissed, sitting down. "As the snow falls,and amber permeates the sky, dew shall rise." He reapeted at least more than five times. I awoke, with a start. The prophecy cold on my mind. I began to jump up, but my kits-still unnamed sqeaked. I rubbed my paws on my daughters and son,  hoping them to slow to sleep. I began to wash one of my kits, her white tabby pelt gleamed.  Protection washed over me, i will protect you with my life, my kits. 

Chapter Fourteen- Dew

I was asleep. 

"Dewrise! Your here! " a voice ecoed my mind. I blinked my eyes open.  a flame colored tom stood in front of me. "Fire-Firestar?" My voice shivered. I knew he was alive when I was a kit, but I never remembered him. "Oh, Dewrise, it's so good to see you, my great nephew!" Firestar boomed. " as snow falls, Amber permeates the sky, see shall rise. As snow falls, Amber permeates the sky, few shall rise. " I awoke, startled. I knew what the prophecy ment: me, Amberlight, and Snowfall would save the clans! 

(Sorry about how short this chapter was :) )

I will put a new chapter each wensday.

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