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This is the first book in The Shrouded series, a collab between Rainy and Lilly.

Prologue- Lilly

The sun stained the sky the colour of blood, as it fell from sight, bleeding into the waves of the sun-drown place on the horizon. A golden she-cat was perched on a rock warmed by the rapidly dying rays of the sun, watching intently as if it would let her in on the deadliest of secrets.

Before a strangled gasp of wonder could escape her mouth, a terrible noise split the silence. A high shriek of agony that foretold  shadow ahead. At that moment Poisonpelt emerged from the leader's den, wearing an insidious smirk. The golden she-cat looked around, and her eyes narrowed to slits. Something stained the deputy's curved claws.

The deputy opened her mouth to speak. All was silent. 

"Snakestar is dead." Ambersoul saw right through the deputy's solemn tone, and saw Poisonpelt's delight that she had finally achieved her ambition. To be leader of VenomClan. And to dispose of all who oppose her. 

A shocked gasp emnated from the crowd of cats below. Ambersoul was startled. Had no other cat spotted the blood on Poisonpelt's claws? A sharp prod in the ribs told her Strikeheart had.

"Blood will wash the sky the day doom descends..." Ambersoul heard the young medicine cat, Dawnpelt's shocked whisper as Poisonpelt leapt down from the Snakerock. Poisonpelt had apparently missed the medicine cat's comment. The sky was indeed scarlet, even though night should have fallen long ago. Poisonpelt, her pelt vibrant in the light, stalked toward Dawnpelt. 

"We shall go to the stone. Now." ordered Poisonpelt, her voice laced with pure venom, but Dawnpelt didn't even flinch. Ambersoul flashed a smile of encouragement at her. Dawnpelt had to hold her ground. But could any of the clan hold it together knowing the horrors that lay ahead for VenomClan?

"Very well." Dawnpelt meowed, her voice curt. "We will go."

"Good." An evil smirk distorted Poisonpelt's features.

Blood will wash the sky the day doom descends...

Dawnpelt's words rang in Ambersoul's ears.

Chapter One- Rainy

"Are you okay?" Strikeheart asked his sister, studying her over the vole they were sharing. Ambersoul seemed to jolt herself out of a reverie; she blinked hastily and turned back to him.

"Of course," she said hastily. "Why wouldn't I be?"

Skeptically, he watched as she dug into the fresh-kill, not meeting his gaze. "I know you better then that, Ambersoul. Spit it out."

She gave him a thin smile. "Strikeheart, how could anyone be happy with Poisonstar as leader?"

He glanced around hastily, making sure no one had heard. "Keep your voice down," he hissed, glancing towards the leader's den, where the deputy, Blackheart, stood talking with a few other of Poisonstar's pets; warriors who followed her around like lost kits. He despised them almost as much as he did Poisonstar, but he also had good reason to fear them, and the last thing they needed was to fall into more suspicion in the eyes of their murderous leader.

"Sorry," she said apologetically. "It's just... she makes me so mad." Getting up abruptly, she mewed, "I'm going to go hunt. Poisonstar has us so focused on fight-training, there's hardly any prey left."

"Okay," he said, waving his tail at her as she trotted out of the camp. Ordinarily, he would've offered to go with her, but his muscles still ached from wrestling Iceshadow and Redburn that morning. It had been two-against-one, unfair, but no one had cared, or listened to his protests.

Sighing softly, Strikeheart got to his paws, intending to go into the warrior's den and get some rest. He let himself in through the thick trailing fronds that framed the entrance. Most of the nests were empty, save one. With pleasure, he noted that it was he and Ambersoul's friend, Sparrowwing. He had had a crush on her since they were kits, but never let it show, and she never seemed to notice or think of him as any more then a friend.

Lifting her head, she smiled at him, which lit up the flecks of gold in her light hazel eyes. Just being around her made him grin; she was the type of cat to whom goodness seemed to come naturally. She was so nice, it was enough to be friends with her, even if she didn't return his feelings for her, which seemed to get stronger everyday. Not that being nice scored her any points with Poisonstar.

"Hi Strikeheart," Sparrowwing said. Her gaze was sympathetic. "I heard you had fight-training in the morning."

He nodded, rubbing his sore shoulder. "I'll survive."

She was insistent. "You should see Dawnpelt."

Before he could protest, he heard shouts from outside. Bounding out of the warrior's den, Sparrowwing at his side, Strikeheart took in the scene. Poisonstar was standing on her high-rock, glaring down at Ambersoul. "And what, exactly," she said in a cold voice, "were you doing outside the camp?"

Ambersoul looked one part defiant, one part bewildered. "I was hunting. Is there something wrong with that?"

Rage curdled in Poisonstar's eyes. "Follow me into my den. Blackheart, come with me. The rest of you good-for-nothing feather-brains, scat!"

The crowd dispersed quickly, but Strikeheart felt glued to the spot as he watched his sister's bright pelt vanish into the gloom of the leader's den. He turned to Sparrowwing and saw the same determination he felt stamped on her face.

"Let's sneak in there. We have to find out what's going on."

Chapter Two- Lilly

Ambersoul didn't shiver as she followed the two cats into Poisonstar's den. A sarcastic smirk curled her lips as Poisonstar stared coldly down at her, trying to be intimidating. Ambersoul's yes glinted as she recognized this unmissable opportunity.

"It's not working..." Ambersoul intoned icily, mimicking Poisonstar. "When you were deputy, I wasn't scared of you. Don't think for a second that that has changed. I'm not going to be trod on. Not by you or anyone. If you think you're scary, think again."

"But things have changed now." Poisonstar meowed sweetly. "I'm Clan leader. And after all, that means..." She liked failing to scare me. Ambersoul relished the look of shock and anger on her face; she wouldn't scare a kittypet if she thought her tone was enough to scare any cat.

"Your word is law..." Ambersoul finished dryly. "Frankly, I'm not taking orders from you, code or no code. When will you get that through your thick skull? You call yourself leader? You're stupid, that's what you are." She smirked lightly- Poisonstar was surprised that she wasn't scared.

"Bring in the guards, Blackheart." she ordered. Her deputy nodded and left the den, a grimace on his face. He, obviously, didn't like what Poisonstar was doing; but no cat was really a Poisonstar fan, were they?

"I was hunting!" Ambersoul protested.

"And now you're being rude to me." retorted Poisonstar. "Plus, I confined you to camp." She thought she had the upper hand. Wrong!

Ambersoul's face was set. Then she saw Strikeheart and Sparrowwing smiling encouragingly at her. They wanted to see Poisonstar have her butt kicked. They all do.

"Maybe you should shut up!" 

Poisonstar went rigid.

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