The Trial follows the struggles of Moontide as she grows up knowing her father was the traitor, Hawkfrost.
Thunder cracked over the Riverclan camp, sending shivers down the tom's spine. Rain beat down over the small clearing, where wails and cries of agony rang out, echoing in the trees. He quickly lapped the cheek of the she-cat next to him, until another spasm broke out and she jerked wildly. He knew he should find a medicine cat, but then he would be surely deducted from his position as next deputy of Riverclan. He gazed at the she-cat, watching her as her eyes glazed and her mouth gaped in a silent wail.
"Hawkfrost," She choked, and the tom ran to her side, guilty that he had just been watching her when she needed his help.
"What is it, Skyflower? Is something wrong?" He searched desperately in her eyes, wishing for the warmth that he had seen there when they had first met, but she stared back at him with only pain showing in her eyes. After a few moments, however, they shone with love and sadness.
"I'll.. Always love you.." She breathed. Slowly her breathing eased until it stopped completely.
"No! Skyflower!" Hawkfrost shouted, shaking her wet pelt and licking her face in rapid, desperate strokes. A slow, mournful wail rose from his throat and he laid slumped over his mate's dead body. Until, out of the corner of his eye, he saw the small wriggling scrap of fur beside Skyflower's body. He crept over to it, and it looked up at him with blazing blue eyes. Hawkfrost couldn't bear the pain that blazed over him, threatening to drown him. This was his kit. Those eyes were just like her mother's, and Hawkfrost knew that he couldn't stay with this kit as all she would bring was painful memories. He picked her up, and, dangling her by her scruff, carried her toward the Thunderclan camp. She could at least stay in her mother's clan. He trudged over the border, rain splattering his pelt and left her outside the sleeping Thunderclan cat's camp. He thought for a second he could see the blazing amber eyes of his brother, until they vanished and Hawkfrost plodded back to the Riverclan camp.
Moonkit lazily opened her eyes to the pale dawn light that seeped through the walls of the Thunderclan nursery. Next to her, Whitekit and Dovekit were snuggled deep in their mother's belly, relishing the warmth. Moonkit didn't understand how they could sleep when there was so much of the camp to explore. She shook Whitekit excitedly.
"Come on, sleepyhead!" She mewed teasingly and Whitekit groggily opened her eyes. Dovekit murmured something next to her and Pearlheart, their mother, lifted her head sleepily for a moment before it dropped back into her nest. Moonkit frowned. The sun was up! That should be enough to wake the whole camp up.
"Go back to sleep," Whitekit grumbled before settling her nose back on her paws. Moonkit bounced out the entrance, refusing to listen to Whitekit. The camp was empty, and Moonkit fluffed out her fur against the leaf-bare chill. A few leaves rattled over the clearing, and she chased happily after one, catching it in her tiny claws.
"Take that, Shadowclan warrior!" She snarled as she batted it angrily, satisfied as it crumbled beneath her paws. She was about to start patrolling around the camp looking for more 'warriors' until she noticed Brambleclaw, the deputy, watching her from the warrior's den. She padded over to him.
"Hi Brambleclaw!" She mewed happily, but Brambleclaw just stared back at her blankly. She tipped her head to one side. Did he even hear her? "Brambleclaw?" She repeated, taking a step closer. Brambleclaw seemed to snap out of his trance and his gaze settled on her.
"Hi, Moonkit" He said, blinking at her. Squirrelflight slid out of the den next to him, and they touched noses before Brambleclaw got huskily to his feet. "I'd better organise the dawn patrols," he said to himself, shaking his pelt out against the cold.
"Ooh, can i come?" Moonkit asked, looking up hopefully into Brambleclaw's amber eyes. He shook his head. Moonkit couldn't help her tail drooping.
"No, not this time. Won't be long before you're an apprentice though!" He mewed as he pushed his way back inside the den, calling out cat's names. Suddenly another leaf brushed along her path and she gave chase, watching it blow across the camp a fox-length in front of her. She leaped, landing squarely on the leaf.
"Haha! That's what you get for stealing my prey!" She squeaked, tearing the leaf apart. Firestar watched from the Highledge, his gaze unreadable. Moonkit shrugged off the feeling of uneasiness, and headed back to the nursery to see if Whitekit and Dovekit were awake yet. As she was about to enter, she almost bumped noses with Dovekit as she scrambled out.
"Hi Dovekit!" Moonkit greeted her as Whitekit padded out beside her.
"Hi Moonkit! It's freezing today," Dovekit replied, fluffing out her thick white pelt. She was easily the smallest out of the three, but she definitely had the loudest voice. Whitekit shivered next to her.
"Maybe we should have stayed in our nests," she said, her breath coming out in puffs of white air. Moonkit bounced around her.
"No way! There's so much to play," she mewed, bounding over to the sunning rock. "Look, we can play clan!" She said excitedly. "I'm Moonstar of Thunderclan!" she yowled.
"And I'm Doveclaw, deputy of Thunderclan!" Dovekit squeaked, jumping up beside her.
"Oh, oh! i know! I'm Whiteflight, medicine cat of Thunderclan!" Whitekit shouted, plucking a green leaf of the tree next to her and shoving it in her mouth. "Shee?" she said, her mew muffled by the leaf. Moonkit and Dovekit laughed, and Whitekit almost choked on her leaf. She spat it out, leaving a green stain on the floor. "Ergh!" she spat, wiping her tongue with a paw. "That's disgusting!". Moonkit looked down at her, trying not to giggle as she stuck her tongue out. "Maybe I'm not cut out to be a medicine cat," Whitekit laughed, her nose twitching with the tang.
"Thunderclan! Attack on Shadowclan!" She yowled, charging for a pile of leaves at the side of the camp. Whitekit and Dovekit raced after her, squealing with delight as they burst through the pile of leaves, scattering them everywhere.
"Argh! They've got me!" Whitekit yelled as a few crisp leaves stuck to her pelt. Moonkit raced over and picked them off with her claws.
"That's what you get for attacking my sister!" she growled playfully, batting at the leaves that swirled around her. Pearlheart blinked sleepily from the entrance to the nursery, and Dovekit hopped over to her.
"Hey Pearlheart! Want to play clans with us?" She asked. Pearlheart shook her head warily.
"Maybe later," She yawned, and turned back around and headed into the den. Dovekit padded back over to Moonkit and Whitekit. Moonkit was still pinning a leaf down on the floor. Suddenly Firestar's yowl broke out across the camp.
"All cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the highledge for a clan meeting!". Cats filed out of dens, fluffing their pelts out and mewing to each other quietly. When the clan was settled, Firestar began.