The following story is rated Moderate
Blurb: It has been many, many, moons since the original Clans fell. After the new Clans, SunClan, StormClan, MountainClan, LakeClan, and DarkClan fall, only a few cats can restore the Warrior Code to its former glory.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: These cats were not all created by me, several other people have worked on this as well. For the purpose of privacy, I will not list their real names, only their FANDOM accounts: HUDAman00, StarNightLifeShadowDay003, BlueFire13240, and two others.
This story takes place after Snow, Ray, Tar, Night, and Wispy have met and started living together.
“Snow! Come on! Let’s go play!” Wispy called to her litter-sister.
“I’m coming, Wispy!” Snow laughed as she chased Wispy.
Snow trotted over to Wispy, attempting to pounce on her tail, when all of a sudden, Wispy stopped.
“What’s wrong, Wispy?” Snow asked her sister.
“It’s beautiful! Snow, come and see! Come and see!” Wispy was nearly bouncing off her paws that were still pretty small, given she was a kit.
Snow ran up to her littermate, only to gasp at the view of the island in front of her. “It’s...INCREDIBLE!!!”
“Snow! Wispy! Come back into the den! Your father caught a nice warm rabbit!” Flame, the kits mother, called.
“Coming, Flame!”Snow ran back to her mother’s warm, white belly with Wispy trailing behind her.
Ember came up to the kit’s nest and curled up next to them. “Good night, little ones,” he whispered.
Snow nuzzled Wispy awake, “Wake up! Flame and Ember have food and then we can go play in the river!” Snow then whispered, “And we can try to swim to the island.”
“Fine,” the gray she-kit said.
Wispy and Snow padded outside the bush to find a sparrow lying in wait for them. They shoved it down their throats and ran across the woods, reaching the river that separated them from the island.
Snow took a small step into the large river. Wispy followed more hesitantly. The repeated this process until the water was higher than their bellies.
“You ready?” Wispy asked, her voice shaking.
Snow nodded, too scared to speak; what if one of them drowned? What if they were swept away by the current? No, she thought. She had to do this. Snow took one last step forward, then lifted up her paws and started paddling. The current was very strong, and Snow had to use all her strength to not get swept away or pulled under. Little waves kept crashing into rocks and the kits, making them have to turn back towards the island every now and then.
When they final set paw on the island, the two sisters were awed by the sight of the little pond glimmering in the sunlight. They sat down next to it and started sharing tongues to warm each other up. Snow then knew that the tiring swim was worth it. This could be our home, Snow thought, not realizing how true that was….
“Guys, do you want to make our family more… permanent?” Snow asked. She had been abandoned with her litter-sister, Wispy when they were kits. But now they were with a new, better family with their friends, Ray, Night, and Tar.
“Yes, I mean like, we could invite other cats to join us, and we could have an even bigger group!” Wispy agreed.
“Exactly, but we’ll have to wait for Tar to come back. He’s part of the family too!” Snow was so happy, she almost fell off her paws.
“Snow, do you mean like a, a, a clan or something!?!” Ray said, stunned.
“A clan is the perfect idea, Ray!” Night bounced up and down.
“And we could claim the meadow as our territory!” Snow decided.
“Yes, but what will we call this clan?” Wispy wondered aloud, ignoring her friend.
“It’ll come to us,” Snow called.
“Maybe something that relates to the dark times we’ve been through,” Wispy suggested.
“We’ll have another helping paw soon, Tar is back! Hi, Tar!” Ray exclaimed.
“What’s going on here? Night? Ray? Wispy? Snow? What’s going on?” Tar asked.
“We’re going to make a clan! But we need your opinion first,” Night explained.
“Ok, I’m in. What’s the name?” Tar said.
“That’s the thing, we’re not sure yet,” Wispy told her friend.
“Enough talking, let’s go watch the sunset on our soon-to-be territory!” Snow was already halfway out of the undergrowth that surrounded their home.
As the twelve-moon-old cats padded through the thicket, Ray stopped dead in his tracks.
“Should we even be doing this guys? I mean, we only have five cats! Five! I don’t see how that can start a clan,” Ray shook his head in doubt.
“Well, Hayley and Brevin made a clan called LightningClan in the forest across the moor. Now Brevin is the leader, Brevinstar and Hailey is the deputy, Hayleypelt. It’s crazy! Plus they say that there is a clan of dead cats called StarClan! Maybe we should elect a leader and they should become whatever-star,” Tar said.
“Good idea, Tar! We can do that right now! Or after we watch the sunset. Look! We’re here!” Snow yowled gleefully.
The other cats joined in as they stood on the cliff, in front of the sunset. “It’s so pretty!” Wispy gasped.
“Yes, but wait until you see the stars! We’ll soon call them StarClan I believe,” Night told the young she-cat.
As the night slowly came, an idea came to Snow’s head. “WE COULD CALL OUR CLAN NIGHTCLAN!!!!! It will remind us of our dark past, and still help us to remind ourselves that there will always be another happy, good, beautiful, starry night!”
“Yes! It’s perfect!” Night howled happily into the dark blue sky.
“Now to elect a leader,” Wispy agreed.
“Whoever wants to be leader, step up!” Tar called, pointing to a large boulder with his tail.
Ray and Snow both stepped up. “If Ray wants to be leader, then he can, I don’t care,” Snow started to back up.
“No! Let’s all just vote randomly. It will be more fair,” Wispy said firmly, “Whoever wants Tar to be leader raise your tail!” No cat raised their tail. “Night.” No tails. “Me.” No tails. “Ray.” No cat would even look at Ray, except Snow, who raised her tail. “Snow.” Even Ray rose his tail for this young, brave, and smart she-cat. “Snow, by the power vested in me, I hereby declare you, Snowstar! Leader of NightClan! Please choose your deputy.”
“I am very grateful, new cats of NightClan, but I must choose my deputy. My deputy shall be, Ray. Ray, you shall now be known as,...Rayclaw! StarClan honors your bravery and intelligence. Now, I must choose what LightningClan doesn’t have, a medicine cat. For my medicine cat I choose Wispy! Wispy, from now on you will be known as...Wispyflower! StarClan honors your kindness, and need to care for all who are injured. As the first warriors of NightClan, I choose, Night and Tar. Night, Your new name shall be...Nightheart! StarClan honors your loyalty and openness to new ideas. Tar, your new name shall be...Tarfur! StarClan honors your ferociousness and ambition. Now, I believe we s all shout each others names,” Snowstar tried to remember what LightningClan had done.
“Snowstar! Snowstar! Rayclaw! Rayclaw! Wispyflower! Wispyflower! Nightheart! Nightheart! Tarfur! Tarfur!” the new members of NightClan choursed in unity.
“Now! We shall go back to our old dens, and in the morning we shall make the moor our territory!” Snowstar yowled into the air of her future home.
The five cats walked back to their old dens for the last time.
When they awoke, Nightheart, Rayclaw, and Tarfur started collecting moss for nests. Wispyflower collected herbs, Snowstar hunted prey and found spots for the dens.
“Sheesh, who knew collecting moss could hurt your claws so much!” Rayclaw complained, hauling back a huge bundle of moss back to the camp.
“Try finding the perfect spot for dens! I've decided that bush will be the leader’s den, the tree above that will be Hightree. The warrior’s den will be in the thicket of brambles and bushes.The medicine den will be that large area of bushes and brambles under the tree. The apprentice’s den will be the area over there. The nursery is over there, we’ll build up the walls with brambles, and the elders den is right over there, by the leader’s and apprentice’s den,” Snowstar showed her clanmates, pointing in turn with her tail.
“Ok, so should I start assigning patrols?” Rayclaw meowed.
Snowstar nodded, “Be sure to assign a border patrol to mark our new territory too.”
“Yes, Snowstar,” Rayclaw mewed.
He called Tarfur and Nightheart to mark their borders, then hunt on the way back. Maybe we will like living this way, thought Snowstar.
Several moons later, when LightningClan knew of their fellow clan, and Snowstar had her nine lives, a rouge came to NightClan territory.
“Snowstar! We have an intruder! What should we do with him?” Rayclaw called.
“What’s your name?” Snowstar asked the rouge.
“Air,” he snarled.
“What are you doing on NightClan territory?” Snowstar asked.
“I’m hunting, isn’t that ok?” Air told her rudely.
“This is our territory, don’t you know?” Nightheart mocked Air.
“No, but what are your names?” Air asked the clan cats.
“I’m Snowstar, leader of NightClan. This is my deputy, Rayclaw. Wispyflower is the medicine cat and my sister. Nightheart and Tarfur over there are our warriors. And we are the first five cats of NightClan!” Snowstar told Air proudly.
“Wow, you all live together!?!” Air was both jealous and stunned at the same time.
“Well, you can join if you want, as long as Snowstar, Rayclaw, and Wispyflower agree,” Nightheart told him kindly.
“Wait a minute,” Rayclaw exclaimed."Tarfur! This is Air! Our brother! Of course you can stay!"
“If he wants to, I say he can. That’s the whole point of this, right?” Wispyflower offered.
“Yes, but only if he says yes,” Snowstar, replied, making it official.
“I-I-I’m honored. Yes! Sure! Of course I’ll join your clan,” Air was surprised that he had got an invitation so soon.
“Then we shall test your skills, and give you your warrior or apprentice name! It all depends on how much you know, because you’re obviously older than six moons,” Snowstar told him happily.
At Air’s test, he nailed it! Snowstar just had to give him his warrior name.
“All cats old enough to catch their own prey, come to the Highrock for a clan meeting!” Snowstar called her clan and they came, “Air, you did amazing at your assessment, and I trust that Tarfur and Rayclaw have taught you about the warrior code, so I think you should receive his warrior name! I, Snowstar, leader of NightClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this cat. He has shown his skill and promise to uphold your noble code, and I commend him to you as a warrior in turn. Air, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to defend and protect this clan with your life?”
“I do,” Air swore.
“Then by the power of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Air, from this moment on you will be known as Airclaw!” Airclaw hesitantly licked Snowstar’s shoulder when she bent down to touch her nose to his head.
“Airclaw! Airclaw!” NightClan choursed the new warrior’s name.
“Now stay silent and guard the camp for the night as your vigil. Dismissed!” Snowstar yowled, as Airclaw walked to the edge of camp without a word.
Snowstar padded away to her new den for the night.
“Hello, Snowstar. I am Cliffstar, the second leader of SunClan. SunClan is not a clan anymore, but it used to live near the island you live at now. You have helped save some of the past,” the cream tom that was in Snowstar’s dream said. Then, she was in a dark, dense forest, where she saw very skinny cats, all starving to death; some seemed to already be dead.
“Is that SunClan?!?” Snowstar wondered aloud.
“Yes, in our last moments. I was already in StarClan by then,” Cliffstar told her, “We were the first clan, then came DarkClan, MountainClan, StormClan, and LakeClan. I must warn you, in the near future something will happen to you and NightClan that will affect you all forever.”
“What?!? How!?! Don’t go!” Snowstar called out to Cliffstar, but it was too late, he was gone, and she was awake.
“Airclaw, you lead a hunting patrol with Nightheart and Tarfur,” Rayclaw ordered the warriors.
“Ok, Rayclaw. Nightheart! Tarfur! Hunting patrol!” Airclaw called.
When Airclaw, Nightheart, and Tarfur came back, Nightheart had a black and white tom with green eyes in her jaws. The kit looked about six moons old.
“What, or who is this!?!” Snowstar was outraged.
“Snowstar, please, hear me out. We found him starving in a tiny bush across the river. He’s been abandoned. His mother’s scent was stale on him. It reminded me of you in a way. Please let him join NightClan! Please Snowstar! Please!” Nightheart begged her leader.
“Fine,” Snowstar said a bit grudgingly.
As Nightheart took the little tom to get something to eat from the freshkill pile, Airclaw and Tarfur dropped their catches into the pile.
Rayclaw padded up to Snowstar once she was alone. “Are you sure about this, Snowstar? I’m just saying, we already have six cats. Plus he’ll be another mouth to feed! Are you sure we can survive with him?” he asked.
“Yes, Rayclaw. I’m sure about this,” Snowstar hesitated for a moment, then spoke.
When the little rouge had awoken, Nightheart calmed him and led him to Snowstar.
“Ah, you’re awake. What’s your name, little one?” Snowstar asked him kindly.
“Night. I’m six moons old!” the little rouge puffed up his chest proudly.
“Well, Night. How would you like to be trained as a NightClan apprentice, and become a warrior someday?” Snowstar made herself sound appealing.
“Yes please!” Night purred happily. There was a dark and foreboding look in his eyes and Snowstar wondered how much that little kit had seen.
“Then, we’ll do that right now,” Snowstar chuckled. “Let all cats wise enough to find their ancestors come to Hightree for a clan meeting! We have a new apprentice in our midst. Night! From this day forward, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Nightpaw! Your mentor shall be, Rayclaw!”
“Nightpaw! Nightpaw!” NightClan shouted.
Rayclaw came up to his new apprentice and they touched noses.
Six moons later, Nightpaw took his warrior assessment and passed.
“All cats wise enough to find their ancestors, come to the Highrock for a clan meeting!”shouted Snowstar, “I think we all know what we’re here for. We have an apprentice to make a warrior, and that’s obvious. Nightpaw! Come forward and receive your warrior name!” Nightpaw came to his leader. “I, Snowstar, leader of NightClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. He has trained hard to uphold your noble code, and I commend him to you as a warrior in his turn. Nightpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend this clan, even at the cost of your life?”
“Yes,” Nightpaw nodded.
“Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name! Nightpaw, you shall be known as Nightshadow! StarClan honors your fearlessness and determination,” Nightshadow bent down to lick Snowstar’s shoulder, “Now go sit your vigil.”
“Nightshadow! Nightshadow!” the clan cried as he padded away proudly.
“Snowstar! Wake up! You’ve been sleeping for hours! Go on a patrol or something. Come on sleepy head,” Rayclaw called from outside Snowstar’s den.
“Okay. Nightheart! Nightshadow! You’re on a hunting patrol with Snowstar!” Rayclaw ordered.
“Ok, Rayclaw! Let’s go!” Nightshadow jumped to his feet and started walking toward the border of camp.
“Coming!” Nightheart called, racing after Nightshadow and Snowstar, who had caught up to Nightshadow.
As soon as they reached the edge of the forest that was their territory, Snowstar caught squirrel scent. When she spotted the squirrel, Snowstar stalked it to the tree it was by and, when she was close enough, pounced. Once she had caught the squirrel, one rabbit, and three sparrows, she saw Nightheart, carrying five mice, one rabbit, a raven and one vole. “Hi, Nightheart! That’s a big haul!” Snowstar commented.
“Yeah, I found a part of the forest, it’s flourishing!” Nightheart responded.
“Wow! By the way, have you seen Nightshadow?” Snowstar asked her friend.
“No, I was hoping you had!” Nightheart sounded alarmed.
“Oh no, Nightshadow! Nightshadow! NIGHTSHADOW!!!!!” Snowstar yelled desperately into the towering trees.
After what felt like moons of searching, Snowstar and Nightheart found him, digging up a few voles. “NIGHTSHADOW!!! Where were you!?!?! We’ve been looking for you EVERYWHERE!!!!!” Snowstar yelled at the young warrior.
“Wow! Geesh, I was just hunting, can’t I hunt?” Nightshadow was stunned by how stern Snowstar could be.
“We couldn’t find you! I mean, of course you can hunt, but you have to respond to our calls!” Snowstar was so worried that she couldn’t think straight.
“Snowstar, calm down, it’s not like he’s dead or anything,” Nightheart told her leader softly.
“Sorry, Snowstar. It won’t happen again, I promise!” Nightshadow promised her.
“It better not!” Snowstar scolded him.
Heading back to camp with tons of prey, Nightshadow was scolded one last time by Snowstar.
“Okay, so you must promise me that will never happen again.”
“I promise,” Nightshadow promised.
“NightClan! Attack!!!” Snowstar yowled orders to her warriors.
LightningClan had decided to attack for the third time in one moon.
“We will win this time! Come on, Hayleypelt! Let’s beat this copycat clan!” Brevinstar ordered.
“Got it, Brevinstar. I’m coming for you, Rayclaw!” Hayleyeplt shouted.
“Not if I get to you first!” Rayclaw replied loudly.
“I’ve got Brevinstar!” Nightshadow called.
“I’m getting Hayleypelt!” Airclaw yelled.
“I’ll help you, Nightshadow,” Nightheart ran over to her clanmate.
“I’ll help with Brevinstar!” Tarfur announced, charging at the LightningClan leader.
Snowstar fought Brevinstar with all her might, but the warrior code said not to kill unless necessary so she didn’t. Snowstar bit down on the big tom’s leg and felt warm blood in her mouth. Brevinstar yowled in pain and scratched her ear in return. Snowstar’s blood was dripping down into her eyes and she couldn’t see anything! Am I going to die today? Oh, StarClan help us! Snowstar thought. Soon, she got her wish. Hayleypelt had run away with too many injuries and now almost all of NightClan was ganging up on the LightningClan leader. After a long battle, Brevinstar gave up, and went back to his camp in the forest.
“And don’t come back!” Nightshadow snarled at him.
“Nightshadow, Nightheart, you two and I are in the best shape and can wait for Wispyflower. Why don’t we go on a border patrol? Just to make sure those two have left for good,” Snowstar asked her warriors.
“Sure,” Nightheart jumped to her feet.
“Yes please, I need to stretch,” Nightshadow padded up to the two she-cats. “And this time I won’t go missing.”
Snowstar sniffed the ground, she found Hayleypelt and Brevinstar’s scent, but also something that smelled a little like…. Milk? “Who are you?” a little voice asked.Snowstar looked up, surprised to find a little white she-kit with blue eyes. “I’m Snowstar, this is Nightshadow and Nightheart.”
“What’s your name?” Nightshadow snorted.
“Angel!” the kit yipped.
“Would you like to join our clan?” Snowstar asked, amused.
“You’ll learn how to hunt, fight and there’s lots of food,” Nightheart added.
“Yes! I feel like I could eat a whole squirrel! ” Angel replied.
“Ok then, I’ll be your foster mother.” Snowstar said gleefully. “Let’s go back to camp, this is the last border to check after all!”
“Angel, from this day until you receive your warrior name, your name shall be Angelpaw. Angelpaw, your mentor shall be, Nightheart! Nightheart, you are ready to have an apprentice, I hope you will teach Angelpaw everything you know,” Snowstar told the clan.
Nightheart came over to touch Angelpaw’s nose.
“Angelpaw! Angelpaw!” NightClan cats shouted.
One day, Brevinstar came rushing into the NightClan camp. “Those cats- help-” he staggered to the ground. “Snowstar, what do we do with him?” asked Rayclaw. “Keep him hostage until he wakes up, then we can question him.”
When Brevinstar finally woke up, Snowstar went over to him and mewed, “What are you here for, Brevinstar?” “Those cats- Quarry- kittypets-”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down! Start from the beginning,” Rayclaw interrupted. Brevinstar took a deep breath. “Ok. They first started attacking a few days ago, with small numbers. But when we overpowered them, they came back with more cats then NighClan has!
Several days later, the group of cats called ‘Phil’s Quarry’ came and attacked NightClan. We’re outnumbered! Snowstar realized. Angelpaw and Nightheart were fighting two cats each, Nightshadow was taking on three cats, Rayclaw was taking on two, Tarfur was surrounded by four, Wispyflower was trapped in her den by three, and Snowstar was cornered by three! NightClan had nowhere to run. “NIGHTCLAN!!! GIVE IT YOUR ALL!!! WE SHALL WIN!!! THIS IS OUR HOME!!!” Rayclaw ordered.
“Not if I can help it,” mumbled a little jet black tom with teal eyes. He looked about the age of Angelpaw.They’re making their cats who are barely out of kit-hood fight! Snowstar realized, noticing kits who looked about four moons old, some even two!
“For Flame!” Snowstar shouted, charging, claws unsheathed, to her rivals.
“Ahh!” one of them ran for his life.
“For Ember!” Wispyflower clawed one of the she-cat’s muzzles.
The she-cat from Phil’s Quarry hissed at her, then bit her paw.
“I’m coming, Wispyflower!” Snowstar ran over to save her sister, dodging the claws of the attackers.
Snowstar and the she-cat fought and fought until the she-cat was bleeding and battered.
“Matt! Help me!” the she-cat cried.
The jet black tom Snowstar had seen earlier came scurrying to help the she-cat. “I’ve got your back!” he said. So his name is Matt. Snowstar noticed, fighting him.
After what felt like forever, NightClan had killed thirteen members of Phil’s Quarry, chased off the remaining two, and destroyed Phil’s Quarry. Only one cat from the group stayed, Matt. He introduced himself and begged for forgiveness and a home in NightClan. “Please,” Matt gave it one final effort.
“I, suppose you could join us. But, in order to keep a close eye on you, you will be my apprentice. No exceptions,” Snowstar was happy he had asked, she wanted cats from every background, but she didn’t want Matt to know that!
“Thank you! I promise to be the best apprentice ever!” Matt said gratefully, dipping his head.
“Let all cats wise enough to find their ancestors come to Highrock for a clan meeting! I know we all dislike Phil’s Quarry, but I believe this cat has potential. So, anyway, Matt! Come here! Matt, until you receive your warrior name, you shall be known as Mattpaw! I shall be your mentor,” Snowstar touched her nose to his, signaling that she was his mentor, and he was her apprentice. “Mattpaw! Mattpaw!” NightClan wasn’t as joyful as usual, but they still shouted Mattpaw’s new name.
Mattpaw bowed his head in thanks, then padded to his new den with Angelpaw, who nodded to her new denmate.
“And this, is the hunter’s crouch,” Snowstar bent down to show Mattpaw the hunter’s crouch. “Now you try.”
Mattpaw bent down with his belly touching the ground and flattened himself as much as possible; but his tail was still up. “Like this?” he asked.
“Yes, but keep your tail down,” Snowstar pushed down his tail.
Snowstar looked out onto the moor, she was so proud of her clan. They had gone for a group of half starving cats to the greatest empire the forest had ever seen.
She spotted Nightshadow with some unknown cat-a white she-cat with beautiful blue eyes.
“Oh Nightshadow, I’m just sorry I can’t join your clan. I want to, but I know my father will likely look for me and kill many cats in NightClan. But I wish we could be together and in your clan in peace, not secret,” the unknown cat said. Your scent is fresh. You can come out. I know you saw me with Moon, but it’s not what it looks like,” Nightshadow said to them. Mattpaw came out first, “So you two aren’t mates? Cause that’s what it looks like.” “Oh,” Snowstar said, she knew what it felt like to have your mother killed. I’ll ask her later, so she knows she’s welcome in NightClan no matter what danger she might bring.
As Snowstar gave chase on a rabbit, she felt the gentle wind, brushing her fur and thought of biting down into the rabbit’s neck with warm rabbit blood in her mouth. Sure enough, the rabbit slowed close to his burrow, Snowstar took the chance and snapped it’s spine in half with a satisfying crunch.
“Snowstar! Are you ready to go back now?” Mattpaw asked his leader and mentor.
“Yep, let’s go!” Snowstar hopped to her feet, “The clan is probably hungry cause we didn’t come back from practice.”
As they walked back, Snowstar couldn’t help thinking about Nightshadow and Moon. Would he really stay loyal to the clan instead of this she-cat?
When they came back everyone gobbled the food that Mattpaw and Snowstar had brought back.
“Hey, Airclaw can you call Rayclaw for a minute? I’ve got to talk to him,” Snowstar asked the young warrior.
“Sure, Rayclaw! Snowstar needs to talk to you,” Airclaw got the deputy.
“What is it, Snowstar?” Rayclaw asked.
“Can we talk in private?” she asked her good friend.
She could feel Nightshadow’s green gaze scorching her fur. Snowstar knew he didn’t want his former mentor to know about Moon, but it was Snowstar’s only option. She needed advice, and Rayclaw was likely the smartest one in the clan.
“Sure, where?” he asked his leader.
“Come to my den,” Snowstar ordered.
Rayclaw and Snowstar padded into the leader’s den side by side. “So, what’s so important that no one else can hear?” Rayclaw ushered Snowstar.
“Me and Mattpaw caught Nightshadow hanging around a rouge, Moon I think it was. He said he was loyal and Moon wants to join NightClan, but can’t. I’m not sure what I should do, if I should kick him out of the clan, or give it another chance. I could also insist he take me with him to see Moon and invite her to the clan, no matter what the cost may be,” Snowstar finished.
“Oh, I say you should give Nightshadow a second chance and offer Moon an opportunity,” Rayclaw concluded. “Ok then,” Snowstar flicked her tail dismissively, signaling for Rayclaw to leave her den.
Snowstar pondered this question a little while longer. We do need more cats, if Moon joins she and Nightshadow will probably become mates and have kits. Moon must be fast and strong to have escaped her father, whoever he may be. She would’ve also had to be smart and stealthy. On the other paw, if her father were to find her here, he would attack us and put us in danger. Snowstar shook her head, I’ll give her the offer, the rest is up to Moon.
“Nightshadow! Come see me in my den,” Snowstar called Nightshadow over.
“I’m giving you one more chance, but you must take me with you next time you see Moon, I have to say something to her,” Snowstar said once she and Nightshadow were in her den.
“As long as it’s not cruel,” Nightshadow mumbled, exiting the den and heading towards his own.
He does love her…. Snowstar confirmed
Snowstar then padded back into her moss nest and went to sleep.
“Snowstar?” Nightshadow’s voice echoed from outside the den, “I’m going to see Moon.”
Snowstar jumped up and came outside. “Now? It’s not even dawn yet!”
“I don’t want any cat knowing we were gone,” the black and white tom explained.
“Oh, ok,” Snowstar and Nightshadow snuck out into the night.
“Nightshadow? Is that you? Nightshadow! You came! You really came!” Moon jumped up and down happily like a kit.
“Yes, I did. Moon, this is Snowstar, my leader,” Nightshadow beckoned Snowstar with his tail.
“Nice to meet you, Snowstar,” Moon said kindly.
“You as well, Moon. Moon, would you like to join our clan?” Snowstar greeted the young she-cat.
“I would, but...” Moon trailed off.
“But what?” Snowstar pushed, curious.
“But my father, Shadow, he’ll come after you all and kill us all,” Moon finished.
I don’t think he could kill all of NightClan, Snowstar thought, but said instead, “Oh, well you’re always welcome here anyways.” Nightshadow went over to talk to Tarfur, Airclaw and Rayclaw. Nightheart was chatting with Angelpaw. Wispyflower had just popped her head out of her den when all of a sudden, Snowstar heard a yowl.
“ATTACK!!!!!” Brevinstar’s battle cry was startling at first, but soon the NightClan cats had unsheathed their claws and were battling the strong dou.
“Get out, Hayleypelt,” Tarfur hissed.
“Never,” she snarled, scratching him on the muzzle.
“You could have joined us, but no. You just had to make an enemy clan,” Brevinstar dodged Snowstar’s claw. The oversized tom leaped on top of Snowstar and pinned her down.
“You wouldn’t have liked us there anyway,” Snowstar managed, pushing herself off from the LightningClan leader.
“Stop this now and we can both go back to our homes in peace,” Snowstar begged.
“No,” Brevinstar took a huge leap for Snowstar’s throat. Snowstar stepsided in a swift blur of white and crashed down onto Brevinstar’s spine. Snowstar heard a crack and stepped back, stunned. Brevinstar was dead, except he still had eight lives left.
I just removed one of Brevinstar’s nine lives! Snowstar still couldn’t believe it. What have I done? Nightheart, Angelpaw, and Mattpaw must have realized too, because they had all stood up. Hayleypelt took the chance and ran over to her leader. She dragged him out of the NightClan camp, muttering curses under her breath.
Before Hayleypelt fully left the camp, Snowstar padded up to her to say she was sorry, “I’m so, so, sorry, Hayleypelt.”
“You should be, YOU FOXHEART! YOU PIECE OF FOXDUNG! YOU MOUSEDUNG! YOU WICKED CREATURE! YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO CALL YOURSELF A CAT!” Hayleypelt snarled, biting Snowstar’s leg.
Airclaw and Rayclaw quickly rushed to her rescue and chased off the angry deputy.
“Snowstar, are you alright?” Mattpaw startled Snowstar. She hadn’t noticed him sneaking up on her.
“Yes, just a little shaken,” she nudged her worried apprentice playfully trying to reassure him.
“I didn’t mean to kill him!” Snowstar tried to call out to Hayleypelt, but the LightningClan deputy was already gone.
“We know you didn’t, and if she can’t see that then there’s nothing we can do,” Nightheart was soon at her side.
“Well one thing is for sure, LightningClan isn’t giving up!” Rayclaw yowled angrily. “I bet next time they’ll bring reinforcements!” Airclaw said. “Guys! Look at Snowstar! Come on, stay with us! Please, stay strong Snowstar, stay strong….” Tarfur trailed off.
Snowstar could feel her blood pouring all around her, her vision was getting blurry, sound was being silenced, and he was the last thing she saw before she passed out.
“I’m sorry you had to go through that,” a pretty cream she-cat with kind amber eyes walked closer to Snowstar.
“Who are you?” Snowstar asked.
“My name is Daytail, I’m Cliffstar’s litter-sister,” the she-cat said.
“Why are you here?” Snowstar wondered aloud.
“To tell you you shouldn’t be ashamed of what you’ve done, it may be bad and Hayleypelt may be mad, but you have to get used to it. Many battles lay ahead of you and you’ll end up killing at least one more cat if not more,” Daytail set her tail to rest on Snowstar’s shoulders and led her to a pool of stars.
In the pool of stars Snowstar saw an image of herself and Wispyflower, alone in the woods. The the water rippled as if a pebble had been nudged in. When the ripples cleared to reveal the image. Snowstar saw what looked like an older version of Angelpaw on high rock, talking to some cats Snowstar didn’t recognize and others she did. The pool rippled again and this time the image of a battle appeared.
Snowstar realized that the cats in the image were her, Nightheart, an older Mattpaw, and a young brown she-cat she didn’t know. The five cats were fighting what looked like a stone creature that was dropping deadly objects from underneath it’s tail.
Nightheart shouted something that Snowstar couldn’t hear. Mattpaw jumped onto the things back and clawed it, but it didn’t work; the creature shook him off and ripped his head off. Snowstar staggered back, startled by ferociousness of the creature. Daytail gently nudged her back, and, to Snowstar’s horror, she saw the statue drop a ball onto the unconscious brown she-cat. Then she saw herself, leaping to protect her. The ball exploded, blowing up snowstar, who had flung the she-cat away just in time. Then the brown she-cat got up slowly, looked at Snowstar’s dead body, and came charging at the statue with rage. The creature just turned around and bit at her small body; which quickly went limp. Nightheart went up and fought her opponent fiercely, but he killed her too, or so Snowstar thought. To her shock, Nightheart rose to her paws a few minutes later.
“Wha-” Snowstar began, but was cut off by Daytail. “Watch,” she told the NightClan leader. Nightheart went down seven more times after that. The final time, though Snowstar expected her to get up again, Nightheart stopped breathing, and even after the blood-chilling moments when the statue left, she didn’t get up. Snowstar leaned closer to the pool, frightened for her friend. But before she could fall in, Daytail and another cat were at her side. Snowstar turned around to see that the other cat was Cliffstar.
“Calm down, look at what they saved by sacrificing themselves,” Cliffstar told Snowstar.
Snowstar slowly looked back at the shimmering water, which was now glowing. When the light cleared, Snowstar saw an older version of a gray she-cat that she had seen listening to Angelpaw playing with five young kits. There were cats all over the place and when ripples overcame the water, she saw one of the gray tom kits and the tortoiseshell she-kit looking across the river at a gray she-kit, two ginger toms, and a brown she-kit that looked like the other, older she-cat that Snowstar had seen fighting the statue. The water rippled again and Snowstar saw four tiny she-kits, one white, one black, one ginger, and one gray. The gray she-cat that had been playing with the five kits was lying nearby, dead. A black tom was hovering over the white kit, claws unsheathed and wet with blood. He killed the she-cat! Snowstar realized. All of a sudden, a gray she-cat with purple eyes ran out of the undergrowth and chased the black cat away from the kits. Snowstar sighed in relief, pulling away from the pool of water. She turned back towards the ancient siblings and realized they were leaving.
Snowstar woke up dazed and full of pain. When she saw a fuzzy gray shape come in, she started feeling dizzy.
“Snowstar, tell me what hurts,” Wispyflower’s voice came from the gray shape.
“Everything,” Snowstar mumbled, starting to sway back and forth.
“Oh my! It’s worse than I thought! Airclaw! Get me soaked moss, and hurry! Angelpaw! I need three poppy seeds, stat! Hang on, sister,” Wispyflower got closer to Snowstar. “Thank you, Angelpaw. Here, Snowstar, eat these.”
Snowstar slowly swallowed the small seeds and soon felt sleepy. Darkness overcame Snowstar and she fell asleep.
“Snowstar, I didn’t expect to see you again so soon,” Cliffstar’s voice rang in Snowstar’s head.
“Of course we’re gonna see her, she lost so much blood that it took away one of her lives!” Daytail exclaimed.
Snowstar’s eyes fluttered open, only to see the SunClan littermates, leaning over her.
“Even Wispyflower couldn’t save her!” Daytail scolded her brother.
“She’s awake! Oh poor thing,” Cliffstar said, taking pity for Snowstar.
“Wha-what happened?” Snowstar asked sleepily.
“You lost far too much blood in that battle. Me and Cliffstar were trying to buy you time by showing you the pool of stars, but it didn’t work and now both living leaders have lost one life each in one day! What did I ever do wrong?” Daytail told her all at once.
“Slow down, Daytail. She doesn’t know all the stuff we do because she’s still alive,” Cliffstar scolded his sister.
“I hate it when you’re right,” Daytail grumbled.
“Ok, can I go back now? I’m feeling a lot stronger now,” Snowstar didn’t want to be in the middle of this argument.
“Yes, but you’ll feel a whole lot weaker when you wake up,” Daytail warned.
“Got it,” Snowstar sighed and tried to leave.
“Bye, Snowstar,” Cliffstar and Daytail said at the same time.
When Snowstar woke up again, it was dark outside and there was wet moss and a fresh rabbit lying next to her. She ate and drank gratefully and soon felt the weakness start to fade. Snowstar lay down her head on her moss bed again and managed to fall into a calm, dreamless sleep.
Snowstar climbed up the hightree, “May all wise enough to find their ancestors come to the hightree for a clan meeting!”
The NightClan cats walked and sat below the hightree.
“We have an apprentice who I believe is ready to become a warrior,” Snowstar announced.
A volley of happy yowls chorused through the crowd.
“Angelpaw, please come here,” Angelpaw came with a stunned face on, “Nightheart, do you think she is ready for her warrior name?”
“Yes, my apprentice has been ready from the start,” Nightheart said proudly.
“Then I, Snowstar, leader of NightClan call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand your noble code and I commend her to you as a warrior in turn. Angelpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and defend this clan with your life?”
“Yes,” Angelpaw bowed.
“Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Angelpaw, from this day forward, you will be known as, Angellight!” Snowstar’s cries echoed through the air, “StarClan honors you for your courage and kindness.” Snowstar approached her foster daughter, who gently licked her shoulder. "Angellight! Angellight!” NightClan shouted.
Angellight bowed her head in thanks to Snowstar. Snowstar walked to stand next to the new warrior and whispered into her ear, “Time for your vigil, young one.” Angellight nodded and padded off to guard the camp as her clanmates went off to their dens.
“Snowstar! It’s dawn, my vigil is over. But I just caught an odd scent, familiar, but odd,” Angellight’s sweet voice sounded from outside Snowstar’s den.
Snowstar got up and out of her den swiftly, “Show me.”
Angellight turned around and went towards a patch of heather. When Snowstar peered into the heather, she could see that there was a small area that looked as if some cat had slept there earlier. Looking closer, Snowstar saw a patch of gray fur stuck to a tiny thorn that looked unnatural. As the two she-cats looked more, Snowstar found more gray fur caught on brambles, while Angellight found what appeared to be a section of a moss nest. The nest part was now torn, but more gray fur was there, along with more brambles and a few thorns.
“Someone definitely slept here, and recently, by the smell of it,” Snowstar said.
“Cat, it seems,” Angellight added.
“Well, the sun is rising, Rayclaw will send patrols out soon. Let’s wait for now and come back later, ok, Angellight?” Snowstar asked.
“Sure,” the young warrior nodded sleepily.
“You need sleep, go take a nap in your den,” Snowstar ordered softly.
Angellight sagged, but managed to heave herself to her den.
Nightheart padded up to Snowstar. “I’m going on a stroll through the forest.”
“Ok,” the leader nodded.
Nightheart walked away, head held high with the familiar forest scents.
Snowstar padded over to Rayclaw, who was organizing patrols. “Can I join a hunting patrol?”
Rayclaw turned to her, surprised, “Sure. How ‘bout you lead one with Nightshadow and Angellight and go to the river?”
Angellight and Nightshadow walked up to fall in line of their leader. Snowstar nodded her head to acknowledge the two warriors, then started pacing to the river with them on her flanks. When the group had arrived, each went to a different part of the river to catch fish. As Snowstar was walking to a smooth, pebble filled area, she saw a silver streak in the water and, claws unsheathed, pounced. Snowstar dunked her head in the water and bit down hard on the salmon’s neck, killing it instantly.
By the time Snowstar had caught plenty, Angellight was padding up to her, carrying loads of minnows, salmon, and two water shrews. “Great catch,” Snowstar praised the young warrior.
Angellight shifted her paws-embarrassed-in the pebbles. “Thanks,” she mumbled through the shrew.
Snowstar watched as Nightheart came through the bramble barrier of the camp with a gray she-cat slumping next to her. “I’m back, and I’ve brought company,” she called.
“Who is your little, ‘guest’, Nightheart?” Snowstar strided up to the warrior and rogue.
“Flower. She said she had been abandoned and watching the clan. I found her alone, and a vague scent of NightClan was on her,” Nightheart explained.
She must be the scent me and Angellight found in the heather! Snowstar thought.
“Flower?”Angellight sounded almost as if she recognized the name, but was unsure.
“Wait, Angel?!?” Flower took one step towards Angellight, who took a hesitant step back.
“Flower?” Flower nodded, “Flower!” Angellight stepped forward to share tongues with the slightly smaller and thinner she-cat.
“I’m lost, how do you two know each other?” Nightheart asked, puzzled. Snowstar was confused too, but waited for the two she-cat’s answers.
“Oh, right! Flower is my younger sister,” Angellight shrugged her shoulders.
“Yes, Angel and I were very close, that is, until she left,...” Flower drifted off.
“By the way, my name is Angellight now!” Angellight exclaimed, and turned back to Flower.
“Ok! Angellight, I like it. But where did you go? Mary and Black said that your scent ended somewhere near the border to the clan cats!” Flower exclaimed.
“They were right. I joined NightClan. It’s the best place in the world!” Angellight glanced at Snowstar, Nightheart, and the growing crowd of her clanmates. Angellight’s eyes lit up a second later as she turned back to her sister, “You could join too!”
Flower looked shocked. “Um….Look! A blue bird!” Every cat looked to the tree that Flower’s tail was pointing at, “Aw,... you just missed it. Anyways, why do you leave in the first place, Angellight?” She’s trying to change the topic, Snowstar realized.
“Well, I was out exploring, and I found Snowstar, Nightheart, and Nightshadow. I guess I never really looked back,” Angellight shifted her paws in the dirt.
“Oh, well Mary, Black, Tail, and Daisy really miss you. And I suppose I could join your clan now that Mary and Black left me to starve,” Flower said, seeming to chew on the last sentence.
“Wait, mother and father just, ABANDONED you!?! But why, you were always one of their favorites!” Angellight was stunned.
“Yeah, after you left they kept me for awhile then, once I was old enough to take care of myself, left me alone when I was sleeping,” Flower looked down at her paws, “but now I can join you and your clan! That is, if you’ll let me.”
Angellight shot a desperate look at Snowstar, who nodded. “Of course you can join us, Flower. In fact, why don’t I go ahead and make you an apprentice right now!” Snowstar leaped onto high rock. “All cats old enough to catch their own prey come to the high rock for a clan meeting!” Once NightClan and Flower had gathered below, Snowstar continued, “We have a rogue who is lucky enough to become a NightClan apprentice! Flower, please come here.” Flower came. “Flower, from this day on until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Flowerpaw! Flowerpaw, your mentor shall be, Nightheart!”
“Flowerpaw! Flowerpaw!” NightClan drowned out what Nightheart was whispering to Flowerpaw.
“Nightheart, you’re on a hunting patrol with Flowerpaw and me,” Rayclaw ordered.
“Oh, ok. I was hoping to go training with her, Mattpaw, and Snowstar, but we’ll join if you want us to,” Nightheart offered.
“No, it’s fine if that’s what you wanted to do. Besides, I’m sure Flowerpaw will need to learn the NightClan ways before she can go on any full-on patrols,” Rayclaw chuckled.
“I think could handle a bit of that if I wanted to,” Flowerpaw said, in a matter-of-factive way.
“Well, we’re doing training. Come on, Flowerpaw, let’s go,” Nightheart called to her apprentice, padding away.
“Fine,”Flowerpaw sighed, then ran after her mentor.
Snowstar went up to Rayclaw. “I would go, but me and Mattpaw are going with them. Sorry.”
“It’s fine, I’ll take Tarfur and Airclaw,” Rayclaw walked off to the two toms.
Snowstar padded over to Mattpaw, “Come on, we’re going to train with Flowerpaw and Nightheart.”
Mattpaw looked up, “Ok, sure,” Mattpaw walked side-by-side with Snowstar to the best training spot where Nightheart and Flowerpaw would be. “There you go! Now try turning around in one swift spin to kick with your hind legs. That’s it! But remember to keep your head aimed toward the target and your sight somewhere else,” Snowstar said to Mattpaw and Flowerpaw who were practicing their battle moves. “Me and Snowstar will show you,” Nightheart came charging at her leader, who, claws sheathed, dodged and attacked with none-stopping blows. When Nightheart backed up onto her rear legs, Snowstar jumped, turned, and kicked hard with back legs. “And that’s how it’s done!”
“Ok, so of I charge at him like this,” Flowerpaw charged at Mattpaw.
“Then I counter, like this!” Mattpaw grunted, “And then I kick like this, while she’s dazed!” Mattpaw did an awkward version of the kick Snowstar had done. “Great! Now let’s all go see if we can go on a hunting patrol so you two can practice your hunting skills!” Nightheart praised the two apprentices. When the four cats arrived at camp, Rayclaw, Airclaw, and Tarfur were eating on a flat rock next to Nightshadow. When Rayclaw saw them, he jumped down and greeted the mentors and apprentices. “You’re back! Finally! Do want to go on a hunting patrol now?”
“Yes, actually. Can I lead?” Nightheart asked.
“Sure, try the border close to the cliffs,” Rayclaw suggested.
“Ok,” Snowstar acknowledged, walking away after Nightheart.
Snowstar raced after a squirrel, who was slowly getting closer to a tree. But Nightheart and Snowstar were gaining on it faster than it could run, plus Mattpaw and Flowerpaw were following on other sides, a few paces ahead of them. The trees were finally starting to grow thicker, too, as they ran. Snowstar was starting to heave in every breath, she was tired and she had to force her legs to move. Nightheart soared through the thick woods gracefully and obviously feeling at home. Snowstar on the other side, had not grown up where trees were thick, and was in awe of her ability to move so swiftly in such a crowded space. Soon, the squirrel was only a few fox lengths away from the tree. Nightheart sped up at the same time as Flowerpaw jumped out with Mattpaw right beside her. When Snowstar caught up Flowerpaw was giving the killing blow to the squirrel.
“Great catch!” Nightheart praised her.
“I can’t take all the credit. We all helped catch it!” Flowerpaw said through the fresh-kill
The four cats hunted for a little while more, then returned to camp. Mattpaw was carrying a chaffinch and a grouse, Snowstar had three mice and two voles, Nightheart had a rabbit and two blue jays, Flowerpaw had the squirrel and a robin.
“Great work!” Rayclaw yawned once they got back.
The party put their prey down and headed for their dens.
“Wispyflower!” Snowstar beckoned over the medicine cat.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Do you ever feel like this is all just too much? I mean like, the clan and stuff,” Snowstar had been wondering whether she should leave or not.
“No, of course not!” Wispyflower questioned, “Why would I? Snowstar, we’re living with all of our friends!”
“I know, I know. I just, I don’t like having to fight all the time!” Snowstar admitted.
“Oh, Snowstar. We all hate it, but I didn’t know you felt that way,” Wispyflower soothed, her kind voice full of compassion.
“I probably shouldn’t have asked anyways,” Snowstar turned towards Nightheart, who had just returned from her walk. Snowstar soon saw a tiny ginger she-kit on her back. “Who’s that, Nightheart?”
“I don’t know, I found her when she fell out of a tree. She’s unconscious right now though,” Nightheart explained.
“Take her to the nursery for now. Nightshadow! Grab some fresh moss and put it in the nursery,” Snowstar ordered.
“Ok,” Nightshadow acknowledged, and left camp.
Nightheart took the kit to the nursery and let her sleep curled up near her body.
“Snowstar, you know I’ll come with you anywhere, right?” Wispyflower asked softly.
“Got it, but I think I’ll stay here. For now at least,” Snowstar looked at her sister with a fake smile. Wispyflower frowned, but went back to organizing herbs in her den.
“What’s her name, Nightheart?” Snowstar whispered, quietly creeping into the nursery.
“She doesn’t remember. So, since I found her when she fell out of a cherry tree, Cherrykit will be her name!” Nightheart grinned from ear to ear, then frowned and looked at Snowstar, “We are keeping her, right?”
“Of course,” Snowstar purred.
Cherrykit ran over to Snowstar’s paws. I shouldn’t leave, I have a responsibility for these cats. And I want to help them survive, don’t I? Snowstar pondered this question while Cherrykit played around at her paws. She bent down and tried to catch Cherrykit with a gentle paw. Cherrykit giggled, dodged, and run around Snowstar some more. Snowstar got down in a crouch and pretended to circle Cherrykit. Cherrykit turned around and ran away, laughing. Snowstar stalked towards the tiny she-kit and pounced. Cherrykit was fast, though, and got away.
“That was fun!” she giggled.
Snowstar realized that the little kit had dragged her out of her thoughts, so she crouched again and the kit kept playing with the leader after a short break.
Snowstar opened her eyes. She had just finished counting and was now going to find Cherrykit. Nightheart was to her left, and Nightshadow to her right. Nightshadow dashed away into a heather patch, while Nightheart padded over to look in the tree. Snowstar stood still for a moment, scenting the air, then, when she caught a whiff of kit, headed towards a bramble bush. When Snowstar poked her head in and called the tiny she-kit’s name, the only response was a frightened wail. Snowstar jerked her head up to see a bulky, brown tom with amber eyes holding the squealing kit in his jaws. Cherrykit wriggled around until he scowled and put his long tail over her tiny ginger mouth.
“Get away from Cherrykit, you dirty rogue!” Snowtstar hissed.
The tom shook his head, swinging Cherrykit violently.
“Now,” Snowstar growled.
The tom continued to shake his head, eyes wide with fear.
A growing crowd was beginning to form, flanking Snowstar. The brown rogue shivered and whimpered in fear. We can easily beat him in a fight, why isn’t he backing down? Wait, he isn’t looking at us, he’s looking…
Snowstar gulped and looked behind her. A black tom with wicked amber eyes was staring at her, with Moon shivering in fear at his side. A gray she-cat with blue eyes and scars stepped out from behind the tom and a dark gray tom with amber eyes on the other. The gray she-cat pushed a small brown she-cat with frightened green eyes out next to Moon, where the brown tom gently placed Cherrykit. The two brown cats stood around Cherrykit and Moon, guarding them.
“You’ve done well, Mud. Chicken will help you guard my daughter and the kit. Death, Killer, make sure these cats know what they’re up against. Tooth, get Sun and take the prisoners to Thorn and tell him that Mud and Chicken are guarding,” The black tom said, calling over a white tom with red eyes.
If he’s Moon’s father then he must be Shadow, Snowstar guessed, The brown tom is probably Mud, since he grabbed Cherrykit, the brown she-cat is likely Chicken, because she’s guarding with Mud. Death is the gray she-cat cause she listened to her name, the dark gray tom must be Killer, the white tom might be Tooth. And great StarClan is he scary! That golden she-cat has to be Sun, I mean, Tooth just brought her out of the bushes. Wait, why are Death and Killer moving towards us? Snowstar gulped-she did not want to get stuck in a fight with those two.
“Ooh! I wonder if Shadow will let us kill them if they don’t submit themselves to him and Alpha!” Death said gleefully.
“If he does, I call that scrawny orange one!” Killer announced, pointing his tail at Rayclaw.
“Who are you calling scrawny, you mangy mutt!” the NightClan deputy snarled.
“And who are you calling a mutt?” Killer leaped for Rayclaw’s throat.
Snowstar saw a flash of tortoiseshell before Death hit her with the force of a badger after a good new-leaf day of grubs. Snowstar swiftly unsheathed her claws and started fighting back. She bit and clawed and thrashed, but Death had had more practice in killing. Snowstar was starting to get tired, when she felt the weight lift off of her. She looked up to see Nightshadow hurtling Death to the ground and pouncing on her back. Snowstar jumped up to help him and together they pinned her down.
“Get...off,” Death grunted, pushing up and managing to get Nightshadow off of her. Death looked at her new rival and froze, eyes wide.
“I’m going to help save the captives, can you handle her?” he quickly whispered into Snowstar’s ear.
“Yep,” Snowstar raked her claws down Death’s belly. Death screeched, then rolled over and sank her teeth into Snowstar’s leg. Warm blood poured onto the ground.
Nightshadow shot one last glance at the two tussling she-cats, then ran off fast as the wind. Snowstar snarled at Death, who was holding on tight to her back. Snowstar tossed and turned, rolled over onto her back, even, but Death would not give up. The gray she-cat held on furiously to Snowstar’s back, making it pour dark red blood onto her white fur. Snowstar rolled over and Death kicked her hind legs, pushing Snowstar off and onto her paws.
Both she-cats were heaving. Snowstar growled, Death hissed and lunged for the white leader’s throat. Snowstar swiftly ducked and bit down hard on Death’s tail.
Death swivered away, dragging Snowstar with her. Snowstar let go and hissed at Death.
“Do you know where I learned to fight? No! Because we’re that good at staying unknown. And do you know where Night came from? No! Night was raised with us. Night’s father is our leader! Now you’re coming with us and so is the rest of your little ‘clan’!” Death had pinned Snowstar down.
“Look at your precious little clan now! They’re practically begging for help! And you call yourself a leader! Ha!” Death continued, hauling Snowstar to her paws.
Snowstar glanced at her clan; Rayclaw was pinned by Killer, Wispyflower was shivering next to Killer, he had his tail wrapped around her neck, Airclaw was hissing at Killer, Mattpaw was lying wounded next to Wispyflower and Angellight, who was growling at Death and Killer. The cats by Killer didn’t dare attack, if they did he could kill their deputy in an instant. All of a sudden Tooth and Sun came back out of the bushes with three other cats. One was a ginger tom with blue eyes, another was a cream she-cat with green eyes, and the last one was a blue-gray tom with green eyes.
Sun came and picked up Mattpaw with gentle teeth, Angellight was growling at her but still wouldn’t attack in fear for her leader and deputy. Sun also took Wispyflower with her tail resting on the medicine cat’s shoulders. Tooth walked up to Airclaw unchallenged other than hostile hisses and growls. Airclaw bowed his head in defeat and followed the white tom. The cream she-cat padded next to Sun and took Wispyflower. Killer let Rayclaw rise and the blue-gray tom came swiftly over to help contain the ferocious cat. The ginger tom came over to help Death with Snowstar.
“She’s the leader, we can’t ruin her, Alpha will want her unharmed other than what was necessary, is that clear Scorch?” Death told him.
Scorch nodded and mumbled something that Snowstar couldn’t hear.
They’re treating me like I’m the last piece of freshkill in leaf-bare! Snowstar thought angrily.
“Berry, she smells odd, don’t you think?” Sun asked the she-cat helping with Wispyflower.
Snowstar pricked her ears. “Yes, a lot like my mother. Do you think she’s the healer?” Berry replied.
“Yes, she likely is, seeing Holly smells so much like her,” Sun confirmed.
“Are you the healer?” Berry asked Wispyflower.
“Yes,” Wispyflower said weakly, dropping to her knees.
A worried look went over Sun’s face and Berry leaned over to help Wispyflower. Snowstar hissed at the she-cats, then looked at Death to see if she would let her help. Death just stared at the gray medicine cat and ignored her. What an evil cat! If this is just one of the warriors, then what is ‘Alpha’ like? Snowstar wondered.
That’s when she noticed Rayclaw thrashing and struggling to get away from Killer and the blue-gray cat’s grip. Snowstar knew he knew Wispyflower could handle herself, so what was he doing that for? Then, she saw; Nightheart was in the bushes-Rayclaw must have seen her and made a distraction. Snowstar started thrashing and wriggling, trying to get away. Mattpaw’s eyes grew wide, he must have seen the tortoiseshell she-cat too, he started squirming like a kit in Sun’s jaws. Wispyflower started turning as Berry tried to get her onto her paws. Airclaw joined in, scrabbling at the ground and pawing at his captivivator. Angellight smirked as she saw her former mentor and she started hissing at Sun and gently pawing at the golden she-cat.
Death and Scorch had fastened their teeth into Snowstar’s pelt. Killer snarled at Rayclaw and tried to pounce but the orange deputy ducked and rolled so his underbelly was showing. Killer landed with a thump and tossed himself onto the clever tom. Rayclaw unsheathed his claws so he was gripping the gray tom’s underbelly. Blood poured out and onto Rayclaw as he digged deeper into the struggling Killer. Soon, Killer’s snarls were growing weaker and Rayclaw sheathed his claws. What was he doing?
Killer smiled and bent over to bite Rayclaw's throat. Rayclaw smirked and pushed up with his hind legs, knocking Killer back.
“Don’t just stand there! Whirlpool, help me teach him a lesson!” Killer ordered the blue-gray tom.
Rayclaw was already on his paws, growling at Whirlpool. Snowstar heard a moan of pain and whipped her gaze to Wispyflower, Mattpaw, and Angellight, who were cornering Sun and Berry. Snowstar turned her head to look at Airclaw, the ginger cat was clawing at Tooth and whenever the older cat tried to land a blow, Airclaw moved to the other side and scratched over there. Snowstar was the only one in the clearing who was still held down, that’s when she saw a glimmer of light in the corner of her eye; the pond! Snowstar charged towards it, dragging Death and Scorch along with her. Snowstar jumped into the water with a splash. She felt fur come off as Death and Scorch lost their grip. Snowstar swiftly paddling to the shore and hauled herself up the steep slope over to where Rayclaw was still sparing with Killer and Whirlpool.
“Mind if I join you?” she asked him.
“My pleasure,” he smiled at her before going back to attacking Killer.
Snowstar took her place beside her deputy and started clawing and biting Whirlpool. Snowstar heard splashing and knew that Death and Scorch were struggling out of the water. She heard them talking and strained to hear better.
“Get backup! We need to make them secure!” Death ordered Scorch, who was already heading for the thicket where Cherrykit had been taken.
Snowstar was about to chase him, but Whirlpool pinned her down and she was dragged back into the fight. But Nightheart had seen Scorch and was running after him. Death finally saw her tortoiseshell pelt and ran after her. Snowstar then remembered what Death had said, ‘Night was the leader’s kit’. Nightheart used to be Night! Death wouldn’t know she had a new name so she would still call her Night! Was Nightheart still loyal to her old family, or was she completely loyal to NightClan? Snowstar had so many questions but she knew she had to focus on fighting for her clan, she was loyal to NightClan.
Snowstar and Rayclaw fought the two toms with no mercy, but then they heard a yowl.
Everycat stopped. Snowstar turned around to see Death, Scorch, four other cats, and Nightheart and Nightshadow in the middle.
Nightshadow was glaring at a dark brown tom with dark green eyes. Nightheart was being hissed at by a ginger tom with brown eyes.
“Hello again, clan cats! We still haven’t had a proper introduction. I am Death, that over there is my brother, Killer, with him is Whirlpool, the golden she-cat is Sun, Tooth is the white tom, Berry is over there with Sun, Scorch is up here with me, and these four new cats are Whirlpool’s sisters, Sky, Pine, Alani, and Ginger,” Death announced. The silver-blue she-cat was Sky, the dark brown tom was Pine, the ginger tom was Alani, and the ginger she-cat was Ginger. “Oh, and you are our prisoners!” Death smiled gleefully as Whirlpool and Killer went back to guarding Rayclaw, Sun picked Mattpaw up again, Berry and Sky got Wispyflower, Tooth and Pine got Airclaw, Alani and Ginger surrounded Angellight, and Scorch and Death came back over to Snowstar.
“Now we can take them and the other two to Shadow and Alpha!” Killer smiled at his sister.
The clan cats were quickly stuffed together and surrounded. Snowstar made her way over to Nightheart, who was looking guiltily at her paws.
“Death told me about how you’re they’re leader’s kit. Why didn’t you tell me that your father had made a group? And why did they hide it from me and
Wispyflower?” Snowstar asked her.
Nightheart gave Snowstar a puzzled look, “Wait, what? I don’t know what you’re talking about! My father never made a group! Especially not like this! We only had family and you guys! I thought you were coming to scold me about not being able to stop Scorch or help Nightshadow save Cherrykit!”
“But Death said that Night was their leader’s kit! I thought-” Snowstar was cut off by Nightheart.
“Wait, she said NIGHT was their leader’s kit!?!”
“I’m not the only Night around here…” Nightheart shot a glance at Nightshadow.
“Nightshadow!?! But you found him abandoned!” Snowstar whispered.
“Yes, but I also saw him talking to Pine earlier when we were caught, they looked like they knew each other!” Nightheart said softly.
“That explains so much!” Snowstar began, “I’m going to confront him!” She tried to get through to Nightshadow, but Death and Killer were taking him across the river.
Snowstar soon felt other pelts flanking her, Ginger and Pine were leading her to the river. Snowstar looked over her shoulder to see Whirlpool and Sky with Rayclaw, Sun carrying Mattpaw, Tooth and Scorch with Airclaw, Berry and Alani with Wispyflower, and Nightheart being shoved along by Sun. They were all going across the river. Snowstar narrowed her eyes to see two brown shapes at the other side. Mud and Chicken must be waiting for the new prisoners.
When they reached the other side, Sun set Mattpaw down, Mud and Chicken flanked Nightheart, and a brown
tom with hazel eyes came next to Sun and Mattpaw.
“Ah, Thorn. What’s the report?” Death asked the newcomer.
“Moon and the kit are safe with the others,” Thorn told her.
“Good, we’re taking most of them to the same place, but this one and the leader are to stand before Alpha,” Death told him.
“Death, may I ask you something?” Snowstar began.
The gray she-cat nodded. “May my deputy come too? He is the future leader of NightClan after all,” Snowstar glanced at Rayclaw.
“I suppose Alpha would like to meet the future leader of your so-called clan,” Death replied.
Rayclaw growled at her, but Sky and Whirlpool held him back.
“Plus he’s a good fighter, Alpha will like that,” Death finished.
By now the group had reached a thunderpath.
“You expect us to go on that! How evil are you!?!” Airclaw hissed.
“Our home is right across here, we cross it all the time to hunt,” Ginger responded, pushing him up.
Airclaw tried to back up, but Tooth was behind him and Scorch was instructing him to follow his lead and run when he said to go.
A monster passed then there was silence. “NOW!” Scorch, Airclaw, and Tooth ran across the thunderpath right before another monster came across.
Ginger nudged Snowstar forward and Pine got ready to tell them when to run.
“Go!” Snowstar dashed across with her eyes closed, the thunderpath felt hard under her paws, her heart was pounding. Then she felt soft grass under her paws and opened her eyes to see she was on the other side with Airclaw. Death, Killer, and Nightshadow came next, then Rayclaw, Whirlpool, and Sky, Nightheart, Mud, and Chicken, Wispyflower, Berry, and Alani, and Angellight, Mattpaw, and Sun.
“Thorn, you lead the others to their nests, Killer and I will take these three to see Alpha,” Death ordered the brown tom.
“Wait, why take Nightshadow?” Airclaw asked.
Death ignored him and took Snowstar, Rayclaw, and Nightshadow.
The two gray littermates took them to the front of an old abandoned twoleg building. Killer went in and ushered Rayclaw, Snowstar, and Nightshadow to follow him. Death came in last and led the way through the dark building. There were cats everywhere, they all stared at them and whispered to each other. Then a pretty golden she-cat with eyes the color of heather came up to greet the group.
“Night? Is that, is that you?” she asked.
Nightshadow raised his head a little more to see the she-cat better. “Sunset,” his voice was barely more than a whisper.
“Yes, it’s him!” she said softly before yowling, “NIGHT HAS RETURNED!!! ALPHA’S SON HAS RETURNED!!!”
Choruses of happy mews erupted throughout the building. A gray-brown she-cat with green eyes came out of the parting crowd.
“Night? Is that really you? My little kit?” she asked Nightshadow.
“Yes, Starlight. It’s me,” Nightshadow glanced at Snowstar and looked down.
“Sunset is correct! My kit has come home!” Starlight called happily.
More happy yowls were shared throughout the echo-filled building. “Somecat get Alpha!” one called. “He’ll want to see his son!” said another.
“Welcome home, my little kit,” Starlight nuzzled Nightshadow gently.
Sunset looked up at Nightshadow with an admiring glint to her eyes, “Now you can take your place as the next Alpha! Of course, you’ll need to find a mate so that Alpha’s blood still runs through the Alpha.”
“I-I’m. That-that’s n-not what I’m h-here for,” Nightshadow tried to explain.
“Then what are you here for?” a deep voice spoke from above them. Snowstar looked up to see a black and white tom with red-amber eyes. That must be Alpha!
“Father!” Nightshadow gasped.
Two cats stepped from behind Alpha, Shadow and a gray tom with blind-blue eyes. A white she-cat with blue eyes stepped beside the blind gray cat. A little white kit came with them and a gray kit followed.
“Destiny, Oracle, Teller, Starseer, tell us what you have seen for my son,” Alpha told the four white and gray cats.
The gray tom stepped up, “I have seen signs that he has a choice, but if he chooses the wrong path, then he will suffer much.” Nightshadow flinched.
“Teller has spoken, Destiny,” Alpha ordered the white she-cat.
Destiny paused until Alpha flicked his tail at the spot, “I have seen signs that Axe’s other kin have a higher chance of taking the place of Alpha. Night’s destiny may be
elsewhere.” Nightshadow sighed in relief. “Thank you Destiny, Oracle,” Alpha glared at Destiny and called the gray she-kit. Is Axe Alpha’s real name? Snowstar wondered.
Alpha flicked his tail at the spot, and Oracle went to it, “I have seen signs that Night has already chosen his path, although now he has chance to walk out of the shadows.”
“Thank you. Starseer, what have you seen little kit?” Alpha smiled at the other small kit.
“Our ancestors have spoken!” gasps went around the crowd of cats, “Night has chosen his path of doom, it is doubtful he will change, but I must warn you, Alpha blood will follow many generations in other places! Night-wait, he has changed his name! Nightshadow is what he calls himself now-Nightshadow will have kin both here and elsewhere! He will take on two mates! This I have seen and this I have read in the stars!"
The tension was high when the little white she-kit spoke.
Nightshadow shivered. Sunset flanked him and Starlight began to speak.
“We haven’t yet met his companions!” she told her mate.
“Once again, my mate is right. Step forward, the leader!” Alpha ordered.
Snowstar stepped forward and Starlight guided her to Alpha. “Your name?” he asked.
“Snowstar,” she muttered.
“Do you have someone to take your place when you die?”
“Yes, my deputy, Rayclaw.”
“Where is he?”
“Death! Bring me the deputy!”
Death padded up to Alpha with Rayclaw hissing beside her.
“Are you the one called Rayclaw?” Alpha asked him.
“Are you the one called Axe? Oh, I’m sorry, Alpha,” Rayclaw mocked.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Alpha chuckled, “but yes, I am Axe, and Alpha.”
Then Alpha glared at Rayclaw, clearly provoked. “Kill this one,” he ordered, “He’s annoying. I don’t care how you do it, just throw him off the cliff or something.” ‘
Snowstar gasped and tried to help him as Death threw Rayclaw into a gorge, but was held down by Tooth and couldn’t get free. “YOU’RE KILLING HIM!?” she yelled in anger.
“We had no use for him,” Alpha calmly replied, “Now follow us, unless you want to end up like him.” He
laughed evilly as Snowstar was dragged across their base, Nightshadow in tow. She struggled to get free, but her efforts were useless.
Snowstar hauled herself into the uncomfortable nest that she was assigned to. Nightheart and Wispyflower sat near her, in attempt to comfort their leader. Airclaw was pacing back and forth across the room. Angellight sat next to Flowerpaw and Mattpaw, their heads down in sorrow. Nightshadow sat guiltily in the corner, looking away from the other cats. Cherrykit slowly padded over to Nightheart, her fluffy ginger tail down. Moon was slumped on the opposite wall from Nightshadow.
“You couldn’t have done anything, I’m sure Rayclaw knows that. He’s probably looking down on us in StarClan right now, wanting to help us escape,” Wispyflower attempting to comfort her sister.
“Say all you want, in the end it was my fault, I should’ve fought harder to escape Killer’s grip! It’s like Hayleypelt said, I’m just a fox hearted piece of mousedung!” Snowstar cursed herself.
Nightshadow’s black and white figure came up to her, “It wasn’t your fault, if I had never run away in the first place they wouldn’t have needed to search NightClan for me. I understand that I’m no longer wanted in the clan, I hate myself for letting Rayclaw die. I’ll stay here so you can all hopefully leave.”
“Nightshadow, it wasn’t your fault, it wasn’t Snowstar’s fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. Now stop blaming yourselves and let’s figure out how to escape!” Nightheart declared.
A sense of purpose overcame Snowstar, “You know, Nightheart, you’re right. Rayclaw is strong! And as far as I know the worst they could do is push him in the river, but he can swim! He’s alive, I just know it! Thank you, Nightheart, you have helped me see what I didn’t, now let’s get out of this dump and find Rayclaw!”
Nightheart looked taken aback. “I-that-that’s not what I meant! Rayclaw is dead! Snowstar, I’ve known him for as long as you have, it does hurt, but he’s gone. I’m sorry.”
Snowstar took an unbelieving step back-she couldn’t be right, Rayclaw couldn’t be dead! He was her deputy, her friend, he was like family.
“I won’t believe you! He’s alive! He must be!” Snowstar yelled, tears welling up in her eyes.
“Calm down, Snowstar! It’ll be okay, with or without Rayclaw,” Wispyflower replied.
“No, Snowstar is right,” Nightshadow said, “Rayclaw is strong, and if I know my old home then they don’t know where any large cliffs are, only one pretty high
Ledge over a gorge. But Rayclaw was the strongest mentor I could ask for, I’m sure he can survive the fall.”
“But what can we do to escape?” asked Nightheart. “For all we know, they could come back at any moment to check on us! And even if we get out, there is no certain chance Rayclaw is alive, and can we even find him?”
“It’s times like these we could’ve used Rayclaw,” Airclaw elaborated, “He was the smartest cat in all of NightClan, he could get out of here no sweat!”
“That’s it, Airclaw! If we think like Rayclaw, we can get out of this place!” exclaimed Snowstar in excitement, “What would Rayclaw do in our situation?!”
Now the whole Clan was catching on. “Something clever, with a distraction!” Nightshadow put in.
“Then off to work we go!” Snowstar said happily.
⭗ ⭗ ⭗
After quite a bit of planning, NightClan had gotten their plan down perfectly. It had almost taken five days, but now they could finally escape.
“Ouch!” Nightshadow cried.
The plan had begun.
A fluffy, brown and black tom with green eyes came in to see a thorn in Nightshadow’s paw. “Who did this to you, Night?” he asked.
“Hunter! I stepped on a thorn when laying down on the moss! I apologize if I woke Ruby, has she given birth yet?” Nightshadow asked, began to start small talk.
“Yes, she has indeed! One tom and one she-kit! Hawk and Emerald!” Hunter replied proudly, “Now let’s get you to Holly, she’ll fix up that paw.”
“Wait-Hunter, was it?-may I meet your kits? If I’m going to stay here, I should get to know every cat,” Snowstar stopped the brown and black tom.
Hunter turned to face her, “I suppose, but clean yourself up first, they’re still so little!” Perfect! Thought Snowstar. Everything was going as planned.
Once he was out of sight, she turned around and whispered to her Clanmates, “Ok, so now once I get there, Nightshadow will try to distract his father with ‘plans to become the leader of this group.’ Meanwhile, I’ll say I have to make dirt and I’ll sneak back, beat the guards, and set you guys free! Then we just have to escape.”
Just then, Hunter came back and said to Snowstar, “Well, come along now. We haven’t got all day.” Snowstar got up and followed him after he removed the thorny gate that trapped them. Nightshadow walked past her, and nodded slightly, signaling the next part of the plan. He padded over to the leader’s den and walked inside, while Snowstar continued towards what she assumed was the medicine den.
Hunter told a she-cat inside, “Hello Holly, one of the cats we captured would like to see Ruby’s kits.”
“Why of course!” Holly responded. “Just be quiet or you might wake Ruby up, she needs rest after her labor.”
“Ok!” Snowstar said. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the kits. “They’re so adorable!” She wondered if she’d ever have kits of her own, but then refocused her mind to the plan. “Oh, do you know which way the dirtplace is?” she asked Holly.
“Of course, around the big den and then left.” “Thank you!” Snowstar said. Once she saw no cats in sight, she quickly walked out of the den and quietly zoomed over to the guards.
Before they knew what was happening, she swiftly struck one in the neck and forcefully pushed the other into unconsciousness. Then, Snowstar removed the briars and mesh that were keeping her clanmates captive and her Clanmates poured outside.
“Hurry!’ she said, “Nightshadow agreed to meet us by the Thunderpath, so we better go NOW!”
They all ran to the camp’s exit and soon, they were there. Nightshadow emerged from the bushes moments later. “Phew!” he exclaimed, “That was close, the almost got me! But we should be good now.”
“Oh, are you?” a voice from behind them asked in a horrifying tone. It was Alpha! “Abandoned Clique, ATTACK! Leave none alive, except my son.”
Oh no! thought Snowstar. It was all over now. The cats charged at them and then all of NightClan was at their paws again, alive to Alpha’s low mercy.
“Kill them,” he dismissively said, then turned around.
“Something smells odd,” Airclaw quietly whispered.
Snowstar began to scent something familiar as well. The rest of the Clan was confused too, and so was the Clique. Alpha gasped; coughing out blood and fell over, revealing a orange cat that the whole of NightClan knew well.
“Thought you might need some help,” Rayclaw said.
Alpha groaned, and said, “You won’t get away with this! Kill this one NOW!”
“Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure you can beat us,” Rayclaw calmly replied back.
What does he mean by us? Snowstar wondered. “I have an army of my own,” he smirked.
Tons of cats poured out of the shadows and began to take each cat of the Clique down, Rayclaw leading them all. He paused in front of Alpha to say, “How pitiful. The leader of such powerful cats, cowering like a kit!” he taunted, “But I don’t like an unfair fight. Get up so I can defeat you, one on one.”
What is he doing?! Rayclaw is going to get himself killed! thought Snowstar. She tried to say something, but it came out as a squeaky gasp. Snowstar could see the confusion in her Clanmates eyes as well.
Alpha forced himself to stand and angrily spat, “You’ll never beat me, you scrawny fool!”
“Watch me,” Rayclaw replied calmly. He attacked Alpha’s face, and scratched him, making him yowl in pain, the black cat flailed in attempt to strike Rayclaw, but missed terribly. Rayclaw then repeatedly clawed Alpha until he was covered in blood.
“Please,” Alpha groaned, “Spare me! I promise-”
“Promise what?!” Rayclaw yelled back. “Why should I of all cats forgive you, after all you and your group have done to me, my friends, and my family?! You killed my mother, kidnapped my brother, captured my Clan. I could go on and on! You deserve to die!”
Snowstar came to her senses, and yelled, “No, Rayclaw! It’s against the warrior code to kill unnecessarily!
“Forget it! This is necessary!” Rayclaw exclaimed in fury. “This ends now!” Rayclaw struck Alpha a final time, hitting him directly in the throat. Alpha struggled for a moment, then his body lay still. Alpha had his mouth open, as if he was trying to say something before he was killed.
“Rayclaw! What have you done?!” Nightheart staggered out of the crowd full of dying cats from the Abandoned Clique.
“What was needed to be done,” Rayclaw unemotionally replied.
“Rayclaw, you broke the code like I did with Brevinstar...” Snowstar said solemnly.
“Rayclaw…” Wispyflower tried to approach Rayclaw.
Then a white and gray-spotted she-cat with blue eyes appeared behind Rayclaw.
“Don’t hurt him!” she cried.
Snowstar stopped in her tracks. “Who are you? Rayclaw, who is this?! Wha-?” she confusedly asked.
“Calm down, calm down,” Rayclaw said, trying to get everyone to listen, “This is Frostflurry, everyone. The others who helped me defeat them are the team we both helped assemble. Together, we defeated the Guardians, an evil society that ruled the gorge not too far from here.”
“But they’re just kittypets,” Tarufur scoffed.
“And once, we were just loners too, Tarfur,” Rayclaw sharply reminded.
Tarfur quieted down, and then Snowstar burst, “This still has nothing, against the fact that you broke the Warrior Code! How could you? We live our life guarding it, so you can’t just go and break it!’
“I will say it once again, I didn’t break the Warrior Code! And if I did, you did too by killing Brevinstar! That makes you just as unrighteous as me!” Rayclaw snapped back, clearly annoyed by this argument.
Why did he have to bring that up? Snowstar thought. “Bu-”
“Enough!” Rayclaw yelled. “My kittypet friends need to get home, and so do we.”
“Right,” agreed Frostflurry. “But Snowstar, may my parents and siblings join NightClan, along with me?”
Snowstar, both surprised and confused, replied, “Of course! But I thought you would’ve gone back to the gorge too, right?”
“Yes, but Rayclaw has told me about how wonderful clan life is, and I want to see it for myself!” Frostflurry said confidently.
“And what of your family?” the still very confused leader asked her.
“Well, I’ll have to ask, but just in case, can they?” she asked, clearly planning out her words carefully.
Snowstar sighed, “I suppose.”
Frostflurry grinned and padded over to a brown tom and a gray-black she-cat that were standing next to two other cats that were both brown.
“Thank you. I found her struggling to survive with her family, against an evil group of cats similar to the ones we just fought,” Rayclaw’s normally loud and commanding voice whispered loud enough got only Snowstar to hear.
If he’s that gentle when talking about her, what else can I do? Snowstar pondered that question until a joyful looking Frostflurry came back to the NightClan cats.
“They said yes! So you better make this choice worth it! I’m coming with you!” she said.
Mattpaw’s eyes grew wide, “Really?! Another she-cat?! I swear, this should be called She-catClan!” the jet black apprentice struck out laughing, while Angellight, Nightheart, Wispyflower, Snowstar, and Frostflurry sat there awkwardly. Airclaw and Rayclaw looked as if they was trying hard not to laugh along, Nightshadow looked like he didn’t know what to do, and Tarfur looked ready to claw off the young tom’s ear for disrespecting the majority of NightClan.
“Um, I guess not?... “ Mattpaw looked up guiltily at Snowstar, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to disrespect you or anycat.”
“It’s alright! You’re still young!” Frostflurry piped in, “Snowstar, he probably didn’t know what he was doing, please forgive him.”
I could’ve handled that very well, thank you very much! Snowstar thought angrily, but instead said, “Very well, but don’t disrespect anycat ever again, Mattpaw!”
Frostflurry seemed pleased with herself for keeping the peace between mentor and apprentice. Mattpaw looked at Snowstar again, this time hardly believing he could escape without being punished.
“But you will be on extra moss collecting for a week,” Snowstar quickly added, half meaning it, half trying to show Frostflurry her place.
Frostflurry frowned along with Mattpaw, who sighed, knowing it was right. Snowstar whipped her tail in satisfaction, then began leading the voyage across the river to where NightClan camp lay in waiting.
A short-cut swim across a fast-flowing river was harsh, Cherrykit almost got caught in the currents and Nightheart had to save her by grabbing her right before she hit her tiny ginger head on a rock. Frostflurry was obviously still getting used to swimming, as Rayclaw flanked her on the side that the current was pushing. The current of the raging river was stronger than normal, and SNowstar had to fight it even more than usual.
“Stay strong NightClan! It’s almost dark, and we’re almost to the other side!” Snowstar called out to the rest of her clan.
She overheard Frostflurry speaking to her family, “Keep it up, Meadowshine! You’re doing great, Brackenthorn! Keep going, Amberkit! Nice work Gor-wait, where is Gorsekit?! Gorsekit! Gorsekit! GORSEKIT!”
Snowstar turned around, alarmed by the sudden fear in the young she-cat’s voice. Nightshadow was helping the elderly gray-black she-cat with green eyes called Meadowshine, and yelled, “Look around for the brown tom with green eyes that Frostflurry had called Gorsekit!” Airclaw, who was helping Amberkit; A brown she-kit with blue eyes-tossed her head around, searching for her brother. Angellight was helping the old brown tom with blue eyes that was named Brackenthorn.
Frostflurry immediately swam away from Rayclaw’s side in search of her little brother. “Gorsekit! Gorsekit!” clearly worried, she attempted to swim opposite to the current, but lost her balance and flailed around the river, the current taking her wherever it pleased. “Help! Help!”
Rayclaw dived into the river, his small legs barely allowing him to move. In that moment Frostflurry went under and a little brown head bobbed up. Wispyflower picked up Gorsekit’s tiny wet frame gently with her teeth and swam back to the main group. A few terrible moments later, Rayclaw came back out from under the water carrying Frostflurry in his jaws, unconscious.
Meadowshine thanked him and Wispyflower for saving her kits, and then the clan headed back to the mainland, where they would rest peacefully after that hard and horrible day of blood, death, and water. Thankfully, there was no other dangers that befell on them as they made their way back to the NightClan camp.
When they arrived back home, Snowstar was relieved, but still tired from the past few days’ ventures. As she began to settle in her nest for a long rest, Frostflurry came over to her den, then stopped at the entrance. Snowstar immediately looked over at her, then stood up.
“What do you need now, Frostflurry?” she irritatedly questioned.
“Well, there are several Clan positions, right?”
“Yes, and I will make sure that once you are assessed, you can become a warrior,” Snowstar replied
“That’s the problem,” Frostflurry said. “I don’t think I could be a warrior.”
Even more irritated, Snowstar asked, “What are you trying to imply?!”
Frostflurry responded, “I think I want to be a medicine cat.”
Half shocked, half amazed, Snowstar said, “But you don’t know anything about herbs, right?!”
Frostflurry looked almost offended. “I was the healer of my family! Of course I have experience with herbs!”
Snowstar thought about it for a moment, then said, “Go see if Wispyflower approves. If so, you can be her apprentice.”
Frostflurry nodded happily and scampered out of the den.
Snowstar sighed, I don’t know what has become of these cats’ lives, soon they will have to fight for their lives almost daily. What have we done? Then again, they did agree to join.
The sound of a cat walking outside of Snowstar’s den and pausing brought her back from thought. “Snowstar, May we come in?” Wispyflower’s voice sounded from outside the small overhang of leaves they had made when they first arrived.
We? She thought. “Yes,” Snowstar replied.
Her gray sister came in with a worried Frostflurry trailing behind her.
“A medicine cat apprentice, I don’t know….” Wispyflower began.
Frostflurry barged into the conversation, desperate for the spot, “Please! Wispyflower, I could help you with the herbs and healing and everything while you teach me! It’s perfect! It’s-” Snowstar cut the urgent she-cat off.
“Calm down, Frostflurry! She knows and I know too. Wispyflower, I don’t see what’s wrong. You’re absolutely ready for this, what could go wrong? And if it doesn’t work out, so be it! Frostflurry can be a warrior. Frostflurry, if that is necessary, I’ll make Rayclaw in charge of teaching you and assessing you.”
“There are many things that could go wrong, but I suppose I will need someone to take over for me when I die, yes, alright then. Frostflurry, you can be my apprentice!” Wispyflower ranted all at once.
Frostflurry’s blue eyes looked into Wispyflower’s green ones, amazed. “R-really?” she stuttered.
“Yes, now come on! Training starts now, let me see what you know.” Both of them ran out of the den and out of camp to collect herbs. Before they exited fully, Wispyflower flashed Snowstar a grateful smile.
A new day rose, and soon everyone was getting readjusted to their normal activities. Rayclaw was assigning patrols, and soon Angelight, Nightshadow and Tarfur were heading out of the camp to remark the borders.
He then looked over at Snowstar and asked, “Could you take Mattpaw and a few other cats on a hunting patrol? We need to restock, because none of us weren’t captured. And now, we have more cats than ever!”
Snowstar nodded in agreement, and called over to Brackenthorn, who was seeming to get used to Clan life already.
“Hey, Brackenthorn! We need to restock prey, so would you join me and Mattpaw on a hunting patrol?”
The large tom was intimidating, but he came over to Snowstar and respectfully nodded. “Of course. Just let me check on Meadowshine and the kits first. They have been feeling ill since the journey back, but Frostflurry and Wispyflower says it is just a mild cough.”
Snowstar understood, and replied, “Ok! I’ll get Mattpaw, meet me back here later.” She proceeded to look for Mattpaw, but couldn’t find him anywhere. The only cats left in the camp were Rayclaw, Wispyflower, Frostflurry, Brackenthorn, Meadowshine, and her kits. Rayclaw and Frostflurry were about to leave the camp to fetch herbs, presumably. Brackenthorn moved out of the nursery and went back towards Snowstar, only to find her in a panicked state.
“Snowstar, what’s wrong?” he asked.
“It’s Mattpaw! I can’t find him anywhere!”
“Calm down, he probably went hunting alone, or with Flowerpaw.”
Just then, Flowerpaw came bursting into camp, panting.
“It’s Brevinstar! He kidnapped Mattpaw!”
Snowstar gasped, and yowled at the top of her lungs, “CLAN MEETING!”
All the remaining cats in the camp stopped what they were doing and attentively turned toward Snowstar, waiting for instruction.
“What are we going to do?!” Flowerpaw squealed.
“Unfortunately, most of NightClan isn’t at the camp right now. Meadowshine and Flowerpaw, can you try to gather the other cats?”
The two she-cats nodded and headed into the wild.
Hopefully, they can get backup if we need it, Snowstar thought.
Just then, a pained yowl echoed through the forest while Snowstar was mid-sentence. Looking around, she realized the only cats left were her, Flowerpaw, Brackenthorn, and his kits.
“You stay here and guard the kits!” Snowstar exclaimed. “And that’s and order!” she added.
When she finally made it to where the yowl had come from, it was an absolute wreck. Blood was everywhere, and tufts of fur lay on the ground.
What happened here? Snowstar silently wondered.
She continued to ponder possibilities when she heard a faint grunt from underneath a pile of rubble. Hurrying over to the pile, she heard footsteps behind her and swifty turned around. It was Angellight!
“S-Snowstar! I-I was just looking for prey!” the younger she-cat that Snowstar had fostered seemed guilty and suspicious.
“Alright then, can you help me with getting whatever’s under here out? It sounds like a cat!” Snowstar said, testing Angellight in a way.
“Yes, of course!” Angelight replied, albeit her voice quivered.
Something's up with her... Snowstar realized.
Another grunt from the rocks snapped he out of her thoughts, and she moved over to lift one of the heavy stones off of the large pile muffling the noises. Meanwhile, Angelight drifted aloof nearby, seemingly oblivious to Snowstar’s efforts.
“Angelight! Are you going to help, or not?” asked Snowstar.
Angelight turned towards her foster mother with an expression of fear, but moved over to help. Eventually, the rocks started moving on their own, and Rayclaw burst out, muscles tense. He relaxed when he saw Snowstar.
“Brevinstar- Hayleypelt- Rocks- Mattpaw- Prison” he vented. Rayclaw paused to catch a breath, then saw Angelight. She was staring at him, terrified.
"You? What are you doing here, you TRAITOR!” he yelled before leaping to attack.
Snowstar gasped, and yelled “No, Rayclaw! What are you doing?!”
Rayclaw had Angellight cornered near the disassembled pile of rocks, and the younger she-cat looked guilty, her head hung down. Rayclaw paused to say, “What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I-I’m sorry! I didn’t-” but Angellight was cut off by Snowstar.
“What happened? Rayclaw, please explain yourself.”
“Perhaps the one who trapped me under those rocks should explain herself!” he mewed angrily, gesturing to Angellight.
Shocked, Snowstar said, “What?! You’re saying that Angellight trapped you?”
“Yes, I did. But I didn’t want to!” Angelight said in shame. “Brevinstar, he told me if I didn’t trap Rayclaw, he would kill Mattpaw and Flowerpaw! Flowerpaw was able to escape, but Mattpaw wasn’t, and Hayleypelt was right by me the whole time! I couldn’t do anything!”
Rayclaw attempted to stand up, but winced and his right foreleg went limp. “Get… Frostflurry. She was near the path to the Moon Island where the Moonjewel is, getting juniper berries.”
As if there was no need to answer, Frostflurry rushed in to see Rayclaw, Snowstar, and Angelight all worried.
“Frostflurry!” Rayclaw said.
“What happened?!” Frostflurry asked.
“We can get the details later, Rayclaw’s leg is injured,” Snowstar said, looking down at a spot where all the fur had been ripped off by the rocks.
Frostflurry bent down to examine the leg, then replied, “I don’t have the right herbs here, we’ll have to get him back to camp. Wispyflower should be back from getting water for Meadowshine by now too.”
And with that, she helped Rayclaw to his feet and started taking him back to camp.
When the pair was gone, Snowstar looked at Angellight, “What,” she paused, “happened?”
“I-I wanted to save Mattpaw and Flowerpaw. I had scented Brevinstar while I was on a stroll, I also scented Hayleypelt. But, Mattpaw and Flowerpaw’s scents were mixed with them, and that was odd. I followed the trail until my nose led me to my sister and your apprentice cowering against a wall, while Brevinstar and Hayleypelt were ganging up on them. I didn’t know what to do! So, I went in shouting, that was enough for Flowerpaw and she got out, but Mattpaw was frozen with fear and couldn’t move! Then Hayleypelt charged at me and soon I was just as helpless as Mattpaw. That’s when we heard Rayclaw’s shouts. Brevinstar and Hayleypelt had stopped moving, they knew that if he found them he would call the whole clan! Brevinstar then took one look at me, and grabbed me by the scruff as if I were a kit! Hayleypelt had followed with Mattpaw, and when they put us down, he threatened to kill Mattpaw if I didn’t cause the rocks nearby to fall on top of Rayclaw. Hayleypelt would’ve killed me too as she was right next to me. I felt guilty after seeing the horror on Rayclaw’s face when he saw me drop the rocks on to him. I’m so sorry Snowstar!” Angellight bent her head low in
“It’s alright, Angellight. But do you know where Brevinstar and Hayleypelt went with Mattpaw?” Snowstar asked.
“It looked to me as if they headed back across the river to LightningClan camp,” Angellight told her immediately.
“Thank you, can you go to camp and send a patrol my way? We’re about to bring the battle to LightningClan.”
Angellight quickly ran off through the undergrowth and Snowstar headed the other way.
When she reached the banks of their river, she realized how clever Brevinstar had been. The clouds were gray and obviously ready to storm soon. The river would be even more dangerous to cross if there was lightning, and the river would overflow with the rain, making the current stronger as well. She sighed and waded into the swift river.
Lucky for Snowstar, the rain didn’t start even after she was safely across, but she was still worried for the patrol that was coming.
The land was more open on this side. There were less trees and places to hide. When Snowstar looked to one side, she saw a small stream and across it more trees. Snowstar was still shivering from the cold river water, but she went on, the wind nearly knocking her off her feet and her heart pounding so loud she was sure that LightningClan could hear it.
All of a sudden, the wind carried NightClan scent to her, mixed with LightningClan. Mattpaw! Snowstar took off in that direction, longing to see her apprentices jet black fur and teal eyes blinking. She wanted to know that he was alive. The scent was stronger now, Snowstar went into the hunters crouch, pricking her snow white ears and trying to hear something, anything to tell her she was in the right place.
Then she heard it; Brevinstar’s deep voice and Hayleypelt’s fierce growls. Snowstar had arrived at the LightningClan camp.
Snowstar quickly snuck into a bush, then peeked over ever so slightly just so she could see where Brevinstar was. And of course, he was standing right there, his large, menencing, appearance looming over a terrified Mattpaw. Next to him was Hayleypelt, and another cat Snowstar didn’t recognize.