A beautiful brown tabby she-cat with amber eyes guided her three kits, all males through the blizzard. “What are you doing here?” Came a gasp from out of nowhere. The brown she-cat looked up to see a silver tabby she-cat with green eyes along with a black tom with a white paw and dark amber eyes.
“You know why.” She said, hoarsely. The two exchanged a glance, and the tom’s eyes watered. “I-” He began to get down, but the brown she-cat snapped, “Up! We don’t have time for that, Onyxfire! Flowertail, take this one.” She shoved a black kit with four white paws towards them. It had green eyes. “Never tell him until it happens.” She hissed.
Onyxfire pressed his muzzle against the brown she-cat’s neck. “I promise, we won’t.” He said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m sure I’ll know when it does. But what if Wolfstar comes looking for him? All of the Fireguard will be searching!” He said.
The brown she-cat shook her head. “It is Riverstar now and his Waterguard.” She hissed. Grief flashed in Onyxfire’s eyes, and Flowertail nuzzled him in comfort.
The brown she-cat turned away to leave, before Flowertail called out, “What will you do with the other two, You-”
“Don’t say that!” Snapped the brown she-cat. “Just don’t. And we’ll probably all die, when I try to take them away.” She growled. Flowertail is silent as she guides the small kit into their den. The brown she-cat continues on, before there’s a loud cracking noise. “The ice!” She cried out.
Before she could lift a paw, the ground opened up beneath her. The last thing she was able to do was push her other two kits to safety, before plummeting to her death. The last thing she heard was the wails of her two kits.
Flowertail saw the two kits. Onyxfire went to get them, but she stopped him. “You know we can’t. They’ll surely die if we do.” Onyxfire silently nods, as he goes inside with his one- no- now two sons.
Chapter One - Darkstride
I prick my ears, and smell the air, closing my eyes. A yellow tom with green eyes is behind me. My brother, Treestep. He pounces, but I whirl around, and dodge moments before he does. He snorts, and rolls his eyes. “You always know when someones creeping up behind you.” He says. “You need to tell me how, so when I join the Waterguard no one will be able to get past me!”
Our father, Onyxfire rolls his eyes. “Pah! The Waterguard! I used to serve for King Wolfstar in the Fireguard!” He says. Treestep sighs. “Here we go again. Come on, Darkstride, we may as well just get this over with.” He tells me.
Father doesn’t seem to notice. “I was the King’s best Warrior when I served for the Fireguard! The best! I used my staff to take down any enemy that came my way! The other Clans stood no chance against us FireClan warriors!” He yowls. “Until, of course, I retired and Wolfstar became ill. And then DarkClan, MoonClan, WaterClan, and RockClan all struggled to invade FireClan, and take it over.”
He hesitates, before continuing, “FireClan fought until it could fight no more. WaterClan was the strongest and fastest, because the others were weaker from war. WaterClan then managed to successfully take over FireClan, and now there are only four Clans left.” He says.
I roll my eyes. “Father, we already know this.” I say, flicking my tail in boredom. “Ah, but I must tell you the tale again and again, so FireClan will never be forgotten.” He says. Father then looks at Treestep. “But I will be happy for you to pass on this family’s skills to the Waterguard.” He says.
Treestep seems to beam with pride. We have our small camp, that only our family lives in. All families of cats live separated from each other. I live with my Mother, Flowertail, Father, Brother, Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins. We all share a small part of WaterClan territory.
Luckily we all have our own little camps, that only contain a single den. We just all share the part of the territory. The King, Queen, Princes, and Princess’s, along with the other Nobles, Warriors, and Royals get the biggest chunk of territory in the middle.
Every cat travels to the Kingdom once every three moons under the full moon, to share information, and listen to the King and Queen speak. Father’s eyes then sparkle. “Do you boys want to see my Firestaff?” Me and Treestep exchange a look. “Yes!” We both cry and the same time. He smiles. “Alright, one second. Let me get it.” He limps into our home, before coming out with his gleaming Firestaff. There are many carvings and symbols on it. It’s beautiful.
“No one could ever get past me or this!” Says Father. He puts it on the ground, before nudging it onto his nose, and then head, and rolling down his neck, so it rests in the crook between his neck and back. He looks behind at us, challengingly before beginning to cross a river, jumping from rock to rock, without the staff falling off of him.
Me and Treestep exchange a look. He nods at me. I grin, and as he gets to the other side, I lunge at him, but he swerves away, and arches his back, suddenly, catching the Firestaff in his mouth, and stabbing me in the shoulder with it, drawing blood, and making me wince.
“I told you.”
The next night, it’s the Gathering with our Clan. During this full moon, everyone is allowed to cross each other’s territories, freely without asking permission, so everyone can get to the Kingdom faster. I wasn’t feeling so well that night. I had felt ill and feverish, but had ignored it, and told everyone I was fine.
As we crossed through our territory the rest of the family met up with us. And then we crossed the border, and multiple other cats traveled with us in a group.
My paws begin to feel tired, and begin to ache. In fact, my whole body begins to ache. This is only my second Gathering. I figured I just wasn’t used to walking this far. But part of me knew that wasn’t it. When we emerged in a clearing, and the moonlight shone down on all of us, I cried out, and collapsed.
“IT BURNS!! IT BURNS! STOP IT!” I shriek. “Darkstride!” I hear my cousin, Bluepelt, a blue tom with dark blue eyes call out. It wasn’t a burn like fire burning you. It was like ice. How something was so cold, it burned. My hind legs kick out, and I throw my head up, convulsing, not sure what else to do. The pain seemed to controlling me.
I let out another yowl. I see my brother, Treestep’s wide green eyes. “What’s wrong with him?!” He exclaims. My body then begins to shake. It shakes harder and harder, and my eyes roll back up in my head, and blood trickles out of my nose and mouth. I let out an unearthly roar of pain.
GO UNCONSCIOUS! JUST PASS OUT ALREADY! A voice screams in my head. I desperately want to pass out. The pain is too unbearable. “My son!” I hear Mother call out. “Stand back, lady, we’ll take care of this.” I hear a voice say. I don’t recognize it. My body is shaking on it’s side, my eyes are open, but rolled back up in my head, my mouth is open while blood tricked out of it, along with my none, and the pain is horrible. I hear my Mother call out, “But he’s my son!!”
I feel someone dragging me away. Barely. I hear someone howling in pain, and I realize it’s me. I’m not in control of anything. I’m not in control of screaming, “IT BURNS, IT BURNS, MAKE IT STOP!!” I’m also not in control of my howls, and screams of pain.
And the weirdest thing is, as they drag me away, I never did pass out.
Chapter Two - Deadstorm
“A white and black tom with yellow eyes pads through the forest, getting ready to pounce.” Comes a voice. I roll my eyes. “Oh, shut up, Dustfur.” I say, rolling my eyes, as a misty black tom with green eyes appears from out of a bush. “Listen, Owleyes, I-”
“Owleyes is not my name! It’s Deadstorm!” I snap. Dustfur grins. “Just be glad Blackpelt or Sparrowtail is here to hear that.” He says. A red tabby tom with amber eyes, along with a black tom with brown eyes emerge. “Oh we heard that.” Says the red tom. “Sparrowtail, you’re always creeping around!” Exclaims Dustfur.
I laugh. “Come on. Let’s just hurry up and get to the Gathering. We don’t want to arrive last, or else all of MoonClan will be laughing at us!” I exclaim.
Blackpelt nods. “Deadstorm’s right! Come on, let’s go!” We all sprint away towards the MoonClan Gathering. Luckily we’re not the last ones there. Almost, but not quite. King Skystar and Queen Silverstar sit on two branches, along with Prince Lionfur on a branch below them, and five nobles on branches above them.
The King is a muscular gray tom with blue eyes, and the Queen is a sleek silver she-cat with amber eyes. The Prince on the other hand is a large muscular tom with golden fur and frosty blue eyes. “We have an announcement to make!” Yowls Skystar. “We have discussed this with the court, and we have decided to invade WaterClan!”
Gasps and cries of protest arose. “But there aren’t enough Warriors in the Moonguard!” Cries Sparrowtail. This time Silverstar speaks, “We know that. Which is exactly why we’re looking for more volunteers. If enough cats don’t step up tonight we’ll have to recruit you by force.” She says.
“But why are we even invading WaterClan in the first place?” Calls out a brown tabby tom with golden eyes. “Because they have grown power hungry! They have too much territory and too much power! We need five Clans again! Which is why we also need to bring back FireClan! You know not all of their cats were enslaved. Some escaped and are currently hiding. We need to join forces with them and give them back their territory!”
I hesitate. We do need five Clans. Skystar has a point. WaterClan could get too cocky and start to hurt the other Clans. It would create more balance if FireClan came back. I think. “Any cat twelve moons or older is allowed to step up and be recruited. And remember what happens if enough don’t!” He says.
No one steps forward. No one’s willing too. Neither am I. Anger flares in the King’s eyes, and as he opens his mouth, I spring forward. “I will!” I cry out. “No!” Cry out Dustfur, Blackpelt, and Sparrowtail all at once. Another one of our gang, a brown and white she-cat with yellow eyes says, “Deadstorm, you can’t do this!”
“I’m sorry Earthfire.” I whisper. “I have to.” King Skystar smiles. “Welcome to the Moonguard, Deadstorm!” He says. No one congratulates me. They know I don’t want to do this.
As I bow before the King, and pin my ears against my head, multiple other cats step up out of rage and misery to be recruited, and sent to their deaths. It was a suicide mission, I knew it. “We will too.” I hear a voice say. I whirl around and see Earthfire, Dustfur, Sparrowtail, and Blackpelt. “We’ll go with Deadstorm.” King Skystar smiles.
“Excellent! Now this Gathering is over! Now, Moonguard, we attack in one moon. Now train.”
Chapter Three - Talon
My name is Talon. I am a black tom with blue eyes. I think to myself as I look up, trembling. I tell myself that every time I wake up, just to make sure I’m alive. Then I claw myself just to make sure again. I lean against the wall, shaking uncontrollably.
I feel like I’m about to die. As I hear pounding on the entrance to my den, I collapse on the floor, sobbing as they enter. Laughing, they kick me away, before snatching me by the scruff.
“D- d- don’t. Please!” I scream. I struggle, and kick and cry out, but they just laugh. They throw me down on the floor, and I let out a whimper. “Just get it over with.” I say, breathlessly. They exchange a glance, before padding out of the den, and closing it, making it pitch-black. I rock back and forth on the ground, murmuring to myself. I look like a lunatic. But I don’t care.
A bright light shines down on me. I cry out, and fall to the ground, feeling like I was being strangled. But in a few seconds it stops, and I let myself relax. I lay there for hours letting the uncomfortable light shine down on me, before they finally let me out.
I catch a glimpse of another black tom with green eyes struggling against the guard’s grip as they lead him away.
A few nights later I lay in my den. It’s heavily guarded, and there’s no way to escape. The perfect prison. And sadly, I’m not the only prisoner.
About four or five other cats are kept prisoner here as well as me. Two she-cats and two other toms. We’re not allowed to talk to each other, but we’ve been able to sneak away from our guards and meet at midnight every few moons. Tonight is one of those nights. Luckily the guards are passed out from the fight I put up today. They’re also drunk because of the plant that blooms in the full moon.
You can drink out of it, but it’s thorns will scratch up your muzzle. It tastes good, but then before you know it, you’re passed out on the ground.
I sneak out to the center of camp, where three other cats are waiting for me. A white she-cat with brown eyes turns her head. “Talon, you’re hear!” She exclaims. I nod my head. “What did you think, Snow? That I wouldn’t come?”
She rolls her eyes, and flicks an ear towards a red tabby tom with yellow eyes. “Rust said you wouldn’t.” Rust points to the black tom, “Forest said you wouldn’t either!” He exclaimed.
I sigh. “Now isn’t the time to fight! We have thirty minutes before the guards wake up!” I say. “So what are we here to talk about?” The other three cats exchange looks. “Well, I’m not sure.” Says Forest. “I mean, we can’t escape or anything.” For a moment I’m confused, and so are Rust and Snow. But then his eyes widen, and we understand.
Disappointment floods through me. “You’re right.” I say. “We should probably just go back to our dens.” And with that the four of us head off in separate directions.
We had been being watched. That’s why we had to go back. It was either we wouldn’t be able to talk tonight or we would’ve been killed. I think we made the right choice.
Chapter Four - Redfur
I watch as all the new recruits of the Moonguard bow down to Skystar. I’m suddenly self-conscious about my appearance. I don’t look like a normal cat. I have dark russet or dark red-colored fur with icy blue eyes and long fur. My sister, Russetfur, have russet-colored fur with green eyes. She gives me a puzzled look. “Redfur, they won’t notice you!” She hisses.
“And plus, for the last time, no one cares about your fur!” I sigh. I know she’s right. I see a cream-colored she-cat with brown eyes pass by. “Hey, Lilyclaw!” I call out. “Want to go out on patrol with Stagfire?” I ask. She nods. “Sure!”
Stagfire is a large black-ish brown tabby tom with blue eyes. “Stag, you coming?” I call out to him. He frowns. “A patrol? In the middle of the night?” I shrug. “Why not?” He sighs, rolling his eyes, but follows me and Lilyclaw. We poke around the border between MoonClan and WaterClan while chatting, carelessly, not really focusing on the patrol.
Then I hear something. “SHHHH!” I hiss to them. “There’s someone on our side of the border.” I creep forward slowly, Stagfire, and Lilyclaw close behind me. I catch a glimpse of brown fur. I let out a yowl, and leap on them. “ACKKKK!” I hear the mystery cat cry out.
He’s a light brown tom with a dark brown/black muzzle, blue eyes, and dark brown ears. “If you don’t get off of me, I swear I’ll be able to put you in WaterClan’s prison!” He spat. Fear sparks in my heart. Uh-oh. “Who are you?” I ask.
“I’m Darkwhisker! The deputy of WaterClan!” I gasp, and jump off of him. “I’m so sorry!” I exclaim. “Don’t put in prison!” I beg. He glares at me.
“I should. But I won’t. Your a young cat, and so are your friends over there.” He growls. He then hesitates, before asking, “What’s your name.” I hesitate. I don’t know why. I finally say, “My name’s Redfur. But everyone calls me Red.” Darkwhisker nods. “All right. Good day, or night, to you Red, and your friends over there.” He then walks off.
After he’s out of sight, Stagfire and Lilyclaw burst out laughing. “Wait until we tell everyone that you captured the deputy of WaterClan!” Screeches Stagfire.
Embarrassment floods through me as I walk away, stiff with anger. “Don’t tell anyone!” I hiss to them, as the three of us pad back to camp. “Oh, don’t worry,” says Stagfire, “I will.” I glare at him. “Seriously, Stag, don’t tell anyone!”
I then look at Lilyclaw. “You either!” She grins. “You’ll just have to find out whether we did or not tomorrow when you wake up. If your covered in water, you’ll know what happened.” She says. “Great,” I grumble to myself, “now I’ll never get to sleep!”
Chapter Five - Darkwhisker
I take one last look at the cat named Redfur, before padding away. I don’t lie. I am the deputy of WaterClan. That nosy young cat had pounced right on me! I shake my head. Now was not the time to dwell on that. I had been surprised any MoonClan cat would be out patrolling this time of night.
I prick my ears, and hear a yowl of pain. Ah. There they are. I sprint through the forest, and finally make it to where a white tom with yellow eyes, black ears, black legs, and a black tail, along with a orange and black bengal tom with green eyes dragging a young black tom with white paws and green eyes. He was twisting and screeching in pain.
The bengal tom stops, and signals for a smoke black tom with blue eyes to take his place. “Darkwhisker, you’re here.” He says. “We still don’t know what’s wrong with him. We’re trying to take him back to our camp. His mother, Flowertail is over there, with him,” he says, motioning to a silver tabby she-cat with green eyes.
“But his father, Onyxfire and brother, Treestep are at the Gathering.” I nod. “Alright, Tigerpelt.” I say. “Try and find out what’s wrong with this cat.” Tigerpelt nods. “Will do, sir.”
Tigerpelt rushes over to the black tom, who’s writhing and crying out in agony. “What hurts?” Asks Tigerpelt. “What burns?”
“Too cold! Too cold! Everywhere! EVERYWHERE! TOO COLD!” He wails. Flowertail tries to rush forward, but I block her. “Stay away, ma’am. We can’t have you near him, until we figure out what’s wrong with him.” I say.
She recognizes me as deputy, and she nods, and stays back, her eyes wide with worry. I look at Tigerpelt. “Come get me, the second you figure out what’s wrong with him.” I snarl. He nods. “Understood, sir.”
I travel for awhile, before arriving at where I want to be. “Joyfur, you there?” I ask hesitantly. A orange, gray, and white tortoiseshell she-cat with brown eyes appears. “Darkwhisker! I didn’t except to see you here.” She says.
I shrug. “Is Bluejay here?” I ask. To my respsonse, a blue and white tortoiseshell tom with brown eyes appears. “Yup!” I nod. “Okay.” I say. “Just checking around, making sure everyone’s alright.” I say. It’s not a complete lie. I am checking around on the king’s orders.
“Why don’t you come in, Dark?” Asks Bluejay. I shake my head. “Sorry, but I can’t right now.” I blink at him, apologetically. I suddenly can’t get the image of Darkstride out of my head. “Actually, there’s something I need to talk to you guys about.” I say. I would prefer to talk with Joyfur alone, but it couldn’t hurt for Bluejay to know.
“There has been an incident,” I begin, “on the way to the Gathering, a young cat collapsed in the middle of the way there, and began shaking, twitching, screaming, all of that stuff. His name is Darkstride. The medicine cats are taking him to their den right now.”
I pause. Joyfur and Bluejay look alarmed. They should be alarmed. “We’ve never seen anything like this before. He keeps saying that it’s burning. That it’s too cold. Like ice. They will report back to me, once they figure out what’s wrong with him, and how to help him. But I would like you two to keep an eye out for strange things, like this, happening.” I say.
I then add, “And don’t tell anyone about this.” Joyfur nods. “We . . . we won’t.” She murmurs, distractedly. I look at her directly in the eyes. She avoids my gaze. Sighing, I rise to my paws. “Good day, to you two. I’ll see you later.” I then leave.
Chapter Six - Joyfur